Review : Metric - Fantasies
NoripcordEmily Haines’ heart is beating like a hammer – as she sings on Help I’m Alive – and so is Metric’s fourth full-length album, Fantasies. So cohesive and deliberate is this album from start to finish, it seems like a record that, by design, made itself. As its namesake suggests, it’s a dreamscape of neon and methodized noise that scratches at the real, the sensorial, and the downright hallucinatory, and it’s all channeled into a big She-Ra sword brandished by Haines herself. The Toronto native inhabits a certain intelligent beauty – her face can appear both stern and forgiving, like a sandy-haired Carrie-Anne Moss. This wisdom can be heard as well as seen, and it drives Fantasies through all ten tracks.
For an album that sounds like the Breeders caught in an electrical storm, Fantasies had a more rustic beginning. In a very Bron-Yr-Aurian move, the band met in the woods outside Seattle to work on acoustic songs. Those of you who have seen Metric’s throbbing, supercharged live shows know those songs wouldn’t stay acoustic for long, however. The band has historically found its electrical conductor in skyscrapers – they love the big city, whether it be Toronto, New York, or London. Whatever process the songs went through in their incubation, they are now as fast-moving and impulsive as the cities the band uses as bases, gleaming a pop star gleam and yet snarling like a seasoned rocker. Credit guitarist James Shaw for having the chops to match Haines’ pop sensibilities with just the right imposing might...full text
EwThese Toronto-based Broken Social Scene associates amp up the melodies on their fourth album, tapping synthed-out industrial beats to vent their frustrations about the state of modern affairs. Frontwoman Emily Haines' vocals are double-tracked, dreamy and sweet, but don't let her candied tone fool you. Danceable though they may be, these songs are also fighting some pretty serious gloom (''I'm not suicidal, I just can't get out of bed,'' goes one line from ''Satellite Mind''), and as the thunderous final rave-up of ''Stadium Love'' points out, Metric are going down swinging. B+...full text
PopmattersUnless you live in Canada and have had the pleasure of attending some of their frequent live shows, chances are, it has been a while since you’ve heard from Metric. Their last album, 2005’s Live It Out (assuming you don‘t count the 2007 long-delayed release of their previously unreleased/scrapped debut Grow up and Blow Away—which I do not), was a dense, moody exercise in post-rock subtleties partnered with melodic pop declarations. A natural departure from that album’s predecessor (Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?), it remains a watershed moment for a band that loves to play with expectations as much as it strives to exceed them.
Born to be a front woman, Emily Haines (who also moonlights as a charter member of the original Canadian all-stars Broken Social Scene) brings a sinister sexuality to Metric that is at once confident, whimsical, and potentially devastating. If her playful harmonies aren’t offsetting her stark posturing, then her stark posturing is offsetting her playful harmonies. Her 2006 solo debut as Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton, Knives Don’t Have Your Back built upon that foundation with a lively and engaging personal testament of both malaise and genuine honesty....full text
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