Release Date: Apr 14, 2009
Record label: 02.
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Emily 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.
Review Summary: Despite a four year gap between albums, Metric has hardly lost a step.It's been much too long since Metric has last released an album. Sure, Grow Up and Blow Away finally saw the light of day commercially in 2007, but the album had circulated the internet for years prior to its official release; barring a couple tracks that were left off the (re?)release two years ago, half of everybody that cared enough to give it a listen had likely already heard it anyway. That places their last album of new material at Live it Out, which released four years ago.Metric will probably always be a bit of a love it-hate it type of band.
Emily Haines had it her way for a couple of Soft Skeletal years, but Fantasies digs up the indie vibe first captured in Old World Underground and does it even better. This record makes it easy to dance to Metric again. The first three tracks build with effortless new-wave energy, making Fantasies an album you'd want to listen to while pre-drinking. [rssbreak] Help I'm Alive totally nails it.
Metric's third full-length album, Fantasies, is a glossy, slick, and so-clean-you-could-eat-off-it slice of modern rock that may scare off some of the band's early fans due to the unrepentant commercial nature of the album. Anyone who isn't repelled by the band's professionalism and ambition to sound perfect will find it to be quite enjoyable. You can't begrudge them taking a shot at the big time, especially when the result is as good as this.
Unless 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.
Metric's Emily Haines is one of pop's more compelling performers: strikingly beautiful, intensely charismatic, and blessed with talent to spare. Her group's last album, Live It Out, should have been a huge hit (Monster Hospital, the single, was one of the most impossibly thrilling songs of 2006). Somehow, though, it slipped by the wayside. Possibly listeners were put off by the strident tone: Haines sometimes sounded like the person who corners you at a party to tell you that your vodka and tonic is directly responsible for torture in South America.
A criticism levelled at a lot of successful bands is that they write songs for the sole purposes of being played in the vast arenas and stadiums they wish to sell out. Kings Of Leon, Snow Patrol and White Lies are chief amongst those who are pelted with the sneers of making ‘soulless music for the masses’. This is a fair point and as anyone who has heard Kings Of Leon’s ‘Use Somebody’, or indeed their whole fourth album will testify, ambitions aroma can soon smell stale.
These 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.
It's been close to four years since Emily Haines' Metric released a new album-- their 2007 effort was actually just the long-delayed release of their shelved 2001 debut. In the meantime, Broken Social Scenester Haines, the baby-voiced heart and soul of the band, recorded and released an intimate solo album and its companion EP. Those solemn, torch song-like collections stripped her of Metric's new wave gloss, exposing raw nerves and more seasoned vocals.
Following her more intimate solo fare, Broken Social Scenester Emily Haines hikes up her skirt for Fantasies, Metric's third and most unabashedly commercial LP, heavy on heartbreak ("Stadium Love"), New Wave ("Help I'm Alive"), and huge choruses. While everything could be trimmed, Jimmy Shaw's razor guitar in "Sick Muse" and "Front Row" keeps things edgy. .