Metric - Synthetica
For all their four previous studio albums, international acclaim and good natured rock 'n' roll swagger, it's telling that one of Canada's hottest exports can remain such an unknown quantity. Throughout the years, Metric have toyed with a variety of different directions and in so doing have developed a full and nuanced back-catalogue. It falls to their fifth full length to add something new and exciting to it.
Metric don't so much rise to that challenge but overshadow it completely. After the jazzy, more downbeat Grow Up and Blow Away gave way to the hook-laden, stadium rock bombast of Fantasies, Synthetica (as the title suggests) fuses past inspirations into their most coherent sound yet.
That sound represents arguably Metric's best; their inventive proclivity remains (see the elongated instrumental grooves of 'Clone' or the sci-fi sounds of 'Dreams So Real') as is the straight up rock beats and scuzzy guitars ('Youth Without Youth') and so too the kittenish, heart-warming pop (aptly, 'Lost Kitten'). It makes for a variegated album united forcefully by Emily Haines' figurative and literal voice, brimming as ever with charisma.
As for longevity, the tracks are catchy but by no means shallow. Metric aren't at their quirkiest here, (that's best heard on older tracks such as 'The Twist' and 'Hustle Rose') but now the balance is sustainable, Synthetica sounds like an album Emily and Jimmy relaxed into and enjoyed writing thoroughly.
This is evident too in the album's themes; often so hackneyed by a 5th album, Emily Haines' beatnik-esque, surreal, almost poetic lyrics deal mostly with a sense of duality loosely based on futuristic architecture and a healthy rebellion against current corporate trends. Bar the odd almost-cliché (such as on the titular track; "We're all the time confined to fit the mould/but I won't ever let them make a loser of my soul") they highlight just how signature Metric's sound really is.
Rest absolutely assured that Metric's chemistry has grown more potent as time has gone on. A relevant-as-ever album with a nod to sci-fi themes seems fitting as this is perhaps the best marriage of their older, and newer sounds; as they look to the future and I presume to their 6th album we're left in the meantime with a beguiling and captivating magnum opus.
Purchase and listen
Label: Smalltown America Release date: 27/09/10 Link: Official Site Buy/Stream: Amazon/Spotify The appropriately named Hugs by Skibunny in many ways does exactly what it says on the tin. It is fun, warm and generally easy to listen to music from the Belfast-based duo who make music designed primarily with the party in mind. Well-known in Northern Ireland for their parties, Skibunny are more than just a band; they are DJs, promoters and remixes as well. With this in mind therefore, Hugs ... [read more]