METZ - METZ
When I hear the name Sub-pop, Nirvana, The Shins and Wolf Parade prise their way into my consciousness. These momentous bands not only sowed the seeds of my own personality, but ploughed potent fields perfectly in the music industry. Sub-pop are one of the founding fathers of late-20th and 21st century alternative-music, they're part of music folklore - so there's hefty reasoning to why the business holds its breath whenever they sign a band. In June this year, the often bludgeoning burden was bestowed upon Toronto-based METZ as they signed to Sup-pop and announced their self-titled new record in one fell swoop. So, having taken no positives from one of the world's most impressive labels signing the noise-rockers, we'll take a look at their record whilst they stare down the barrel of a gun (I'm only joking when I say that, I'm just using the implied values of cynical Britain to both build tension, and seek empathy).
Since their formation in 2008, many of METZ's plaudits have been attributed to their energetic, emphatic live performances. Battered cymbals, concealed vocals, and sore guitar texture are telling attributes – even after your first listen to the record, you can picture yourself being serenaded in a basement, skate shop, or carpeted club by the noise-enthusiasts. This effect is often the desire of many bands, but is captured infrequently. Amongst the apparent Seattle influence, Liars' They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top is a section of the tapestry that has inspired METZ. 'Get Off' has infectious elements at its behest; the reprieves, rhythmic interaction and prominent guitar parts are complimented by a characteristically raw vocals spurting and squelching how you should "Get off."
"Don't wanna go!" haunts you after hearing 'Sad Pricks'. There's a real careless appreciation of delicate melody within this song. It's texturally great and tempered with angst, defining itself with a bass part that fluidly slides and constantly changes the tonality like a painter trying to capture the sea in a storm. The subtext to the majority of the record's dialect is one of growing distaste and fear toward the outside world, spoken from the discomfort of your own home. "It always falls apart when the lights turn on" - my favourite lyric and the opening line of 'Wasted'. However, there's a real challenge to extrapolate significant amounts of lyrics from track to track. When you acquire snippets, they're as unswerving as you'd expect – working on a similar vein to those that I've already mentioned in the review. You can add Chris to the list of indistinguishable lead singer's and, most probably, one of those hilarious youtube videos where they write out what it sounds like they're saying, but it's not! Side-splitting, folks – I'm off to watch Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.
That was sobering.
Though the idea that spear-heads METZ is powerful, necessary and interesting, there's not much beyond it; in some ways this makes the record very dogmatic. Most of the tracks are driven by the same instrumental elements and rarely stretch further than three minutes. There might be some who find it difficult to indulge in a release which allays the same ideas time and again, even though it's a malleable type of song they write. Whilst this may be a popular criticism of this album, I'd cite that the dips in texture within the songs, and the use of dynamics and adjoining themes throughout compensate for that foible.
'Wasted' is a spectacular song. It pits the aggro-fuelled heart of METZ against sound sentiment. Though loyal to the archetypal METZ song, it plays with the balance of the instruments within the verses so it resembles something like Dick Van Dyke getting thrown down a spiral-staircase. To finish the record we have driven-number 'Negative Space' followed by the sequence of symbols '--)) --'. The call and response in "SPACE!" creates a charming unique characteristic, whilst the ending song is more of a conjunction of silence and drones than anything overwhelmingly substantial.
The record consists of 11 songs which seldom sound different to one another; this will irritate and concern many who need a map when they press play for the first time. Whilst they buccaneer, boast and spring their material on you through your speakers, there's no doubt that the sound they create would be easier to understand and embrace in a live environment. If you're pondering whether to buy this record, just go and buy the track 'Sad Pricks'. You'll either fall in love or it'll last thirteen seconds. It wouldn't be truthful to say that METZ have written an expansive record, but by no means do they imply this is their intention from 'Headache' through to the end. With their hearts firmly on their sleeves, they've produced an album which shows their warts and weaknesses as much as it shows how much of a sharp, jagged unit they are.