The Canadian indie darlings Metric have finally returned with a brand new album. The fifth studio release, aptly called “Synthetica”, is the follow up to their 2009’s “Fantasies” album, and has been long awaited by many fans of the band. Judging from early reactions from fans, the new release does not disappoint.
Fans of the band have gotten a chance to hear almost all of the tracks ahead of the release date thanks to a hide and seek like game that the band played on their website to open up tracks on Soundcloud. Eventually, the band posted the entire album a few weeks ago for streaming only due to the overwhelming positive response.
The album on a whole has a theme of looking at ones’ self from the outside-in, and also about realism versus the synthetic nature that our world is beginning to take, hence the title “Synthetica”.
From the opening track “Artificial Nocturne”, Emily Haines voice absolutely captivates as the catchiness of the track begins to infect the soul. The song captures the classic new wave-esque sound that has gained Metric numerous accolades. When an album starts out with a track as solid as “Nocturne”, there is nowhere to go except up. That’s just what the album does. The tempo and upbeat electronic pop continue to impress as the album goes on.
The lead single off the album is the track, “Youth Without Youth”, and it is an unrelenting, instant hit-single type of song that leaves its mark in the listener’s mind. The deep rhythmic beat that continues throughout the song blends seamlessly with the distorted guitars, synthesizers and Haines’ delicate voice to create a perfect first single.
One of the most unexpected tracks on the album is partially because of the very distinct background vocal track on the song. “The Wanderlust” is collaboration between Metric and the legendary Velvet Underground front man, Lou Reed.
The track is a synth heavy update of what reminds the listener of the classic pop songs of the 60’s and 70’s. It’s an epic pop-style ballad and the hook perfectly blends the very distinctive voices of Reed and Haines in a perfect harmony. Also, the story behind how the collaboration came together is pretty odd. Kevin Hern of the Barenaked Ladies introduced the band to Lou Reed while all three acts were playing a tribute show in Canada, and the rest is history.
Another standout track on the album is the insanely upbeat “Breathing Underwater”. “Breathing” showcases Haines vocal range and gives a taste of that jangly guitar sound, before launching into the full drums and distorted guitars, and then gently eases back to the happy low key melody.
In general, true fans of the band will be deliriously happy with the album, seeing as it’s been quite a few years since their last release, but don’t really expect anything new and groundbreaking. Metric sticks to their strengths and true fans will appreciate that and maybe those just experiencing Metric for the first time will be able to go back and enjoy the back catalog as well.
The band will be on the road supporting the new release, including a live performance on the Jimmy Kimmel show on June 21st. Metric will be overseas for most of the summer before returning in August for a performance at the Lollapalooza in Chicago, and then launching into a full fledged US tour after September 6th. For more details on tour dates, music, and news, log on to the band’s website at http://ilovemetric.com/
Christina Lawler | Contributing Writer