Metric – [Album]

Thursday, 14 June 2012

After a decade in the music arena, Metric has taken a sort of existential moment to breathe and reflect upon themselves, society and what’s to become of it all. Our undeniable technological advances are scarily amazing, but still strip us of genuine connection and emotion. It’s a transition that any person born before 1990 can relate to; and really that every generation can recognize in some way.

When frontwoman Emily Haines wrote an open letter to fans via Metric’s website last April, she announced that the upcoming album, Synthetica, would be about a struggle to understand these themes in a weird time to live and realizing there is no straight answer for our questions. “Synthetica is about staying home and wanting to crawl out of your skin from the lack of external stimulation,” she said. “It's about what is real versus what is artificial.”

The album breathes a familiar tone which resonates with Metric’s past; catchy and upbeat, it doesn’t stray too far their trademark electro-rock sound. It’s been three years since their last album, Fantasies, was released, but it’s clear that Synthetica brings an extra splash of glam pop with stronger synth beats and a fresh perspective to the table, and it is truly refreshing. Opening up the album is “Artificial Nocturne” which quickly spouts Haines proclamation, “I’m just as fucked up as they say – I can’t fake the daytime.” After an enduring gradual pick-up, the drums speed up the tempo and Jimmy Shaw’s droning guitar makes way for Haines signature melodic humming. The first single, “Youth Without Youth” delves deeper into a whirling driving beat loop paired with a robotic voice layer repeating throughout the track. Haines attitude is reminiscent of Nineties teenage angst with snarling vocals and exclaiming sultry repetitions. Undoubtedly, even with a heavy dose of variation of style in each track, it strangely works and transitions smoothly. Each song has an original feel and purpose and fans will appreciate the familiar Metric they have come to love with new distinctions.  “Lost Kitten” is particularly poppy and sweet claiming, “Don’t say yes, if you can’t say no. Victim of the system-say it isn’t so.” While “Synthetica” is typical of an anthem found on previous albums with the chorus repeating, “Hey, I’m not syn-thet-ica. I’ll keep the life that I’ve got.”

Unexpectedly, former Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed joins Haines for backup vocals on the Eighties dreamy shoegaze hit “The Wanderlust.” Reed’s undeniable and authentic voice gives the song an extra boost with an Ian Curtis-like influence. Apparently, the two met and hit it off while at Vancouver’s Winter Olympics, both playing at a Neil Young tribute concert.

The surprises keep on coming too as, in what only can be described as a glammy Goldfrapp-like melody, “The Void” is light and airy, along with the ending track “Nothing But Time.” For fans who crave classic Haines, check out the title-track “Synthetica,” along with melancholy “Speed The Collapse” and “Breathing Underwater.”

Overall, the wispy vocals, dance-driven synths and swaggering guitar loops hold the record together tightly and I can easily picture these songs doing well live on stage. Metric will be touring all summer and into October covering the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia. Including festival gigs at Lollapalooza in Chicago, Mono Festival in Istanbul, Wireless Festival in London and a few in their native Canada.

On their fifth album, Metric’s consistent songwriting and open mind is what keeps their influence on the music scene, renewed and innovative.



Synthetica is available to stream on the band’s SoundCloud page here .


is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

Comments are closed.