Metric - Fantasies

Metric square up guitars and oohs to unscallable heights.

The fact that Metric have hit their latest album and find themselves self-releasing ‘Fantasies’ via the newly formed Metric Music International, is testament to the ridiculous hesitancy with which pre-formed labels are showing bands; but at the same time demonstrates this group’s ability to prove their artistic integrity. Fair to say that by their fourth long player, Metric are well worth taking that leap of faith for and exploring.

Combining wit and sass, Emily Haines has lost nothing of her vocal and lyrical potency despite the amassing years passed. Opening track ‘Help I’m Alive’ crams about a minimum of 3 songs into its four and half minutes – an industrial Depeche Mode, The Breeders knack with chorus construction and some bubblegum pop. The drilling guitar line is certainly secondary to Haines’ craftily luxurious voice, whose tone is just set to unfurrow brows.

Not ones for unnecessary pretention, Metric unleash erratic and uncouth guitars, with motion that takes over on ‘Gimme Sympathy’ – one of those convincing amalgamations of band influences, the referencing of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, which magically doesn’t stick in your ears. In an evenly rounded move, singing “Come on baby play me something / Like ‘Here Comes The Sun’” the band sound uncomplicated but no less convincing.

Darkening somewhat, Haines and the ever-evident Shaw slip into a maze-like synth during ‘Blindness’. It finally breaks these circling shackles for the freedom of guitars and bright, shiny vocals as she assures us to “Leave it up to me”. Where Emily’s vocal is relatively low impact it seems likely why they draw the listener in, and as the focus of attention shifts the dirty rousing bass in ‘Satellite Mind’ claims another soul. Unlike some of their current counterparts, Metric have delved further into using what they know; already being rather au fait with synthesisers, new wave and post punk, ‘Stadium Love’ is, as Haines lyric reiterates, “neck and neck” with everyone’s newly synth’d up Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The song itself is an oddly catchy ender with its duelling denizens of the animal kingdom: trading a cougar for a bat? Well… alright. How about an owl versus a dove? Yeah, I suppose we’d all quite like to see that – would the dove really have less killer instinct?

But, we digress. Metric square up guitars and oohs to unscallable heights and fortunately it burns itself into a reverb stupor rather than inciting us into a royal rumble against our own speakers, however much that would have made for an unexpected ending to these ten tunes. And in many ways ‘tunes’ is the most appropriate name for them, given that they encompass an expansive sound, one comparatively taut but all the while gaining horizontal ground.

‘Sick Muse’ is by far the most Garbage, made-for-radio, sexy of these ‘tunes’ – fortunately so as it’s their next single – and a spot on ditty complete with cupid berating, uplifting chorus and feisty verses. Alternately there’s the most repetitively winsome track on the album to contend with in the form of ‘Collect Call’, with a disco-smooth epicentre and waves of simple, prettily delivered lines and tracking synth. The most elevating of which must be in the line “If somebody’s got soul / You gotta make them move”. The frequent simplicity on ‘Fantasies’ is, once again, certainly its top trump.

There are a couple of ever so slightly overdone melodramas on this album, but within a myriad of perfected pop, it’s very little to ask that you sit through just six less-evocative minutes. And like the best ventures into the unknown, it’s far more satisfying when things turn out for the best.

Tags: Metric, Reviews, Album Reviews

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