Friday, August 24, 2012

METRIC: Shutting Up And Carrying On

After hearing and seeing the video for Synthetica's lead single "Youth Without Youth", I was not excited for METRIC's fifth full-length album, Synthetica.

“Youth Without Youth” comes off as synthetic and an almost non-earnest attempt at “being indie.” Prog-rock guitar riffs and heavy synth blended with vocalist Emily Haines’ wispy vocals are just not my idea of a good lead single.
Album opener "Artificial Nocturne" is moody and ambivalent, teetering between uptempo melodies and a dark message. Lines like song opener “I’m as fucked up as they come” almost make you question what you can expect from Haines and co for their fifth full-length.

METRIC at the Trocadero Theatre, 2009
copywrite Jess Dooley
It isn’t until track 4, the charming “Breathing Underwater,” that I begin to regain my faith in this album. It reaches back to the Live It Out days, where the band were all delayed guitars, fast tempos and tight instrumentation and Haines’ strongest songwriting moments.

This is not to say I want METRIC to keep making the same album.

But if I had the chance to hear the second coming of Live It Out, an album that was the quintessential woman’s coming of age album from the indie/alternative scene, I’d jump at the chance.

I think the problem with Synthetica is that there is too much experimentation and not enough direction. The (over) production of Haines’ vocals (“Lost Kitten,” “The Void”) strips the airy sweet and raw sound associated with the band and the singer.

But there are a few tracks that salvage the record.

Emily Haines, 2009
copywrite Jess Dooley

“The Void,” “Nothing But Time” and “The Wanderlust” highlight the band's knack for making the indie pop that jumpstarted their career. The album’s title track “Synthetica” has an incredible instrumental and is just fun to listen to when Haines’ lyrics are dissected—it is the perfect underdog anthem (“I’ll never let them make a loser of my soul…I’ll keep the life that I’ve got”).

“Clone” is a nice departure from the faster songs on the album and has a cathartic, relaxing feel to it.

All in all, I’d say I can wait for METRIC’s next release. Synthetic seems like we came in the middle of an extended transitional period.

For more info on the band, check out their website, Twitter and Facebook pages.


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