Metric :: Synthetica

Metric-SyntheticaA slow, grainy swell; that’s how Metric’s new and eagerly awaited album, Synthetica, starts.

Then, singer Emily Haines proclaims:

“I’m just as fucked up as they say / I can’t fake the daytime / I found an entrance to / Escape into the dark”

And just like that, they’re back.

What’s incredible and beautiful about this record – the band’s fifth – is that it is clearly Metric, but it has evolved. It’s got a bit more of an electronic tint to it (hence the title, Synthetica) but it’s not so electro-pop that old fans are alienated.

The first single off the record, ‘Youth Without Youth’, perfectly demonstrates this. It opens with the full sound that the band is known for – solid drums, strong bass lines, and subtle lead guitar. Then the guitar turns grainy, and Haines’ keys take an artificial turn. The chorus gets a synth overhaul, too. Punctuated by Haines’ soft cooing vocals, the bass swells, the drums speed, and the guitar scratches its way in.

You can’t help but jump when instructed.

The songs also have a way of swimming into each other – ‘Breathing Underwater’, a tranquil song that will make great fodder for dance (or maybe I just like the analogy). It transitions perfectly into ‘Dreams So Real’ a wonderfully, eerily soothing monologue. ‘Lost Kitten’, meanwhile, is as if an addictive marching tune met and married a keytar – that’s a compliment, by the way.

But, the track that everyone seems to be talking about is ‘The Wanderlust’. Quick-paced guitars, synth-drenched keys, Haines’ smooth, distant vocals . . . the track is exceptional, even without the Lou Reed cameo (yeah, you read that right).

When Reed suddenly comes in, punctuating Haines’ chorus:

“The Wanderlust will carry us on / I’ve been on the Prince of Highways for so long / The Wanderlust will carry us on”

Reed’s smoky vocals perfectly compliment Haines’ sweet soprano; his participation takes the track to a whole new level.

Metric is currently touring on Synthetica. Check for local listings.

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