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Thread: Emily Haines

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    WE'RE ALL GOING HOME HERO's Avatar
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    Default Emily Haines

    Emily Haines: Beta Rational (EIE-Ni or LSI)



    “Old world underground, where are you now? / Subtract my age from the mileage on my speeding heart, credit cards / Accelerate, accumulate / Looked for you downtown / Wound up in a movie with no story / Now it's late and you are nowhere to be found / Hesitation's always mine / Hesitate outside the times / With all I don't say, with all I don't do / I'm sending you invitations to hesitate too / Every ten-year-old enemy soldier thinks falling bombs are shooting stars sometimes, but she doesn't make wishes on them / When she wishes, she wishes for less ways to wish for / More ways to work toward it / Ten-year-old enemy soldier / Our falling bombs are her shooting stars / Hesitation's always mine / Hesitate outside the times / Oh, call me or drop me a line / Say you've been with me, say you've been with me / Say you've been with me this whole time // Old world underground, I never knew you, but I’ve seen your face everywhere / There was a farm before we tore the small town down / Multiply, divide”



    “Lonesome for no one when the room was empty, and war as we knew it was obsolete / Nothing could beat complete denial / All we do is talk, sit, switch screens as the homeland plans enemies / All we do is talk, static split screens, as the homeland plans enemies / Invasion so succexy . . . . Let's drink to the military / The glass is empty / Faces to fill and cars to feed / Nothing could beat complete denial / All we do is talk, sit, switch screens as the homeland plans enemies / All we do is talk, static split screens, as the homeland plans enemies / Invasion so succexy . . . . Passive attraction, programmed reaction . . . . Action distraction, more information / Flesh saturation, lips on a napkin / Ass ass ass / Where does the time go? / We're waking up so slowly / Days are horizontal lately / Out of body, watched from above . . . . Passive attraction, programmed reaction / More information, cash masturbation / Follow the pattern, the hemlines, the headlines / Action distraction, faster than fashion / Faster than fashion, faster than fashion / Lonesome for no one when the room was empty, and war as we knew it was obsolete / Nothing could beat denial”






    “Monster hospital, can you please [waste] me? / You hold my hands down, I've been bad / You hold my arms down, I've been bad / I've been bad, I've been bad . . . . I fought the cold, but the war won . . . . Monster movie—Daddy Warbucks up against Bobby Fuller / And he beat him hands down / Lead in his head / They put a little lead in his head . . . . I fought the war, but the cold won't stop for the love of god . . . . I fought the cold, but the war won”



    Live It Out album review (by Jay Breitling, October 18, 2005):

    If you consider the bands comprising the Broken Social Scene cohort a family, then Metric, fronted by sometimes BSS vocalist Emily Haines, is the extroverted, worldly older sister who likes to rock. A lot. The same older sister composed the hypnotic (and very sexy) song "The Twist," which appeared on 2000's unreleased title Grow Up and Blow Away. And the older sister (many apologies to guitarist Jimmy Shaw, the other original member of the Toronto-based quartet, but for the sake of this Homeric metaphor your band is a woman), on her latest record exceeds her grasp by building her own studio and self-producing an air-tight record of largely unabashed, big-guitar rockers.

    It is hard not to transfer the confidence of Haines' vocals to the entire set, and there is certainly no reason not to. Like a long, steady gaze, the bright production sharply renders every element, even surprising quirks like Seger-style boogie piano in "Glass Ceiling." "Empty" has aggression to spare, and the chorus points accusingly into a magic mirror at a younger self with her back to the wall and a lot of life lessons to come (perhaps a reference to the cold apartments and label troubles in Metric's past). There is still pleasant pop to be had in "Too Little Too Late" and album highlight "The Police and The Private," each of which downshift the pace of Live It Out. The record may have a little less electronic slink than prior efforts, but it has a propulsive energy, even in the mid-tempo tracks, that makes the record easy to like.


    http://www.allmusic.com/album/synthetica-mw0002354324

    Synthetica album review by Tim Sendra:

    After the commercial breakthrough of their 2009 album Fantasies, it would seem kind of unfair to ask Metric to do anything differently on their next outing. That album perfectly took their usual tuneful blend of hooky new wave and spooky synth pop and blew it up to stadium-huge levels while adding more emotional content than ever before. It was a trick that seemed so improbable in the first place that it would be crazy for the group not to try re-creating it on Synthetica. So they did. The album has the same glossy textures, gigantic sounding arrangements, huge choruses, and open-hearted vocals as Fantasies did, but keeps the instantly memorable songs and exposed emotions intact. It also retains the same balance of super hooky songs and gloomy ballads, hitting you in the gut one minute and sending you off cheerfully singing along the next. (It's the same kind of trick Garbage were able to pull off in their prime, and Metric sound very much like a widescreen Garbage throughout Synthetica.) The success that band has achieved hasn't exactly healed Emily Haines' wounds, and her vocals have the same powerfully aching quality that has always been there -- they cut through the music and right to the heart of the listener. Songs like "Artificial Nocturne" and "Dreams So Real" hit very, very hard thanks to her vocals. Elsewhere, she shows a ton of range on tracks as varied as the dramatic "Speed the Collapse," the creepily cute "Lost Kitten," and the dreamily desolate "Nothing But Time." The band provides capable backing throughout, framing her voice in a soft web of sound and creating modern pop that goes down easily but never bores. Only the unwelcome appearance of Lou Reed on "The Wanderlust" breaks the mood of the record and brings it down to earth a bit. Even with his warbling croak gumming things up, the song is a highlight on an album full of them. That Metric were able to follow up their best record with another just as good is quite an achievement, hopefully something they will do again and again.




    https://www.ukmix.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=36411

    The Canadians are here to save us. Metric are the latest in a long line of bands -- The Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene and The New Pornographers among them -- that have reintroduced Americans to the beauty of melodic guitar rock. Like their Canuck contemporaries, Metric take rock 'n' roll to a smarter, more sophisticated place than do most of today's American bands.

    Live It Out takes a sophisticated approach to punk rock, mixing its raucous melodies with ambient sounds and slow, ghostly pauses. Opener "Empty", for instance, begins with ethereal synths and singer Emily Haines's longing keen. After two minutes, Nirvana-style guitars crash, Haines sings louder and the music kicks into a truly propulsive groove.

    Most of Live It Out bears a mild resemblance to Broken Social Scene's more chaotic tunes, so it's no surprise that Haines's show-stealing vocals featured prominently on the wonderful BSS rocker "Almost Crimes". Here, she proves herself to be amazingly versatile, shifting effortlessly between "Glass Ceiling"'s minor key musings and "Too Little Too Late"'s tender earnestness. Jimmy Shaw's guitar stays perfectly in step, whether it's shaking in ecstatic fits or slowly picking out a lead line.

    Eventually, "Police and the Private" brings Live It Out to an abrupt halt. After earning our attention with unrelenting rock, Metric completely switch gears, putting Haines front and center over a bizarre, wandering keyboard line. It proves to be a perfect move; she cuts through the mannered keyboard fog with the album's best melody line, singing, "Lord lord mother, we are all losing love."

    Live It Out is full of longing, anger and emptiness. Sex lies around every corner, and often turns to violence, as it does in "Too Little Too Late": "Sure for the first time you're wearing the right clothes / Now take them off / Meet me on the band room rug / Tie my right hand to the ride." That violence invariably points to power struggles and feelings of helplessness -- familiar feelings, if not sources of particular pride. Metric are fighting for their freedom, even as they ask others to tie them down. Their struggle culminates in "Police and the Private"'s childish plea: "Lord, listen, lover, we are all missing mama." Doesn't it always come down to basic human needs?

    Other Canadian imports may have outshined Metric in the past, but they're clearly ready to make some noise of their own. Once again, it falls to Canada to remind us just how powerful rock 'n' roll can be.

    -- Wes Holmes


    http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/metric-live2005

    Metric: Live It Out [album review] By Peter Funk (24 October 2005)

    There are a lot of things you can call Metric, but enigmatic isn’t one of them. The band writes uniformly excellent songs emphasizing the alternately sultry then angry vocal talents of lead singer (and clear focal/marketing point) Emily Haines. On 2003’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? the band played chicken with the ghosts of new wave. Whether they were leaning on the beat and keyboard heavy end of a spectrum that might be anchored by Berlin or a more angular guitar sound, the band was remarkably good at finding a comfortable middle ground where melody and delicacy could share space with controlled rocking out. Instead of merely recreating this balancing act on Live It Out Metric has made a commitment to their louder guitar-centric side; they pile on the guitar chops and leave the beats to Haines’ other band Broken Social Scene.

    “Empty”, the opening track, opens with a mellow keyboard wash lapping at your speakers like an incoming tide, soon a simple guitar measure chimes over the top and Haines breathy vocal tells us that “there was no way out, the only way out is to give in”. The song’s opening sounds very much like an outtake from Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?; it has the same tone, the same feel, the same organizing elements but this is no “Hustle Rose” there’s something sinister just below the surface of the song fueled both by Haines’ lyrics and the feeling that the band is holding something back. Then, at the two-minute mark, the guitars come and they come like an avalanche. The songs’ main lyrical refrain, “shake your head it’s empty, shake your hips, move your feet”, coupled with a decidedly non “dancey” wail of riff and feedback is easily interpreted as a refutation of the band’s former self while also an introduction of a new political viewpoint. In paying close attention to the lyrics you’ll find Haines’ worldview to be more world-weary. The clever, bordering on trite, proclamations that filled much of Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? have been unceremoniously dumped. It’s an unexpected edge, but a sensible (arguably necessary) reaction to the current state of the world.

    After “Empty” the band doesn’t let up. There’s little rest as the band blasts through the riff heavy bombast of “Glass Ceiling” and “Handshakes”. The songs guitar heavy sound contrasted with Haines gentle nearly non-committal voice actually gives the songs an unexpected weight. It’s a delicious dichotomy that creates a heavy tension especially during Haines overtly political moments. She takes on the tone of an everywoman trying to make sense of an act of God. She doesn’t chastise her listeners as much as ask them to help her figure this whole thing out. “Handshakes” is full of undisguised contempt for the current American administration and naked consumerism in general. “Glass Ceiling”, a brooding distorted guitar anchoring the song, is all frank railing against complacency.

    “Too Little Too Late” and “Poster of a Girl” give us back some of the keyboard based melody that we might have expected from Metric. But even here the keyboards are deeper and darker, tending to hold the songs back, where as they used to bubble towards the surface like pockets of air. “Monster Hospital” is an undisguised anti-war tirade set to blazing guitars and an almost geometric solo that’s all starts and stops, ninety degree angles and unforgiving fuzz.

    “Police and the Private” gives us a slice of the “old” Metric: keyboard based, humming and buzzing, gentle and sweeping. It’s a resting point amidst the barrage and it’s well placed, a flower growing from a crack in the granite.

    Live It Out is certainly no resting on laurels. This is the sound of a band striving to make sense of its environment; an environment encompassing elements political, emotional, and musical. When Metric sets to examining both these internal and external environments the sounds that they make are angrier, louder, and more biting. When you stop and look around it all makes a lot of sense.


    http://drownedinsound.com/releases/4...re-are-you-now

    Old World Underground, Where are You Now? album review by Jesus Chigley

    Chances are you're probably already in love with Emily Haines. Remember the breathy whispered vocals of 'Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl' on Broken Social Scene's stellar 'You Forgot It In People'? She's the woman responsible. Don't expect more of the same spacey atmospherics here, though - 'Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?' is a blend of spunky, synth-laden indie-rock and polished pop, finally available here almost two years after it's stateside release.

    With a rhythm section so tight it makes your eyes water and Haines' schizophrenic keyboards, Metric stick to the mathematically structured connotations of their name without being too rigid or soulless. Deadly hi-hats rebound off new wave synths and gently throbbing bass lines to give ten songs that sound fresher and more intelligent than what might be construed as yet more retro-revivalism. 'Hustle Rose’ is an unfamiliar nightclub on a cold night, a plaintive piano melody laid over rumbling, rolling rhythms which give way to chugging riffing and siren-like synths. 'Succexy' boasts not only a sweetly sibilant chorus as Haines hisses 'Invasion's so succexy' over disco hi-hats, but also lyrical smarts, proving that musicians can talk politics without resorting to tired anti-Bush platitudes.

    It's obvious Metric have a knack for creating smart, catchy pop as almost all of these tracks could be destined for singledom. 'Dead Disco' stands out especially with it's bombastic, shout-out-loud chorus and Joules Scott-Key's superb drumming, whilst last years single _'Combat Baby' has already paid its dues with in a flurry of Garbage-like energy. However, while their lyricism and the album title itself seems to crave either a revolution or a return to form ('Wet Blanket' asks if it's 'wrong to want more than a folk song'), there's little experimentation to be found here, meaning some songs fail to make as much impact as their neighbours.

    Metric question a lot throughout 'Old World Underground..' from hipsters to fashion magazine rockstars, class and media war coverage, and luckily for them, they have enough tunes, conviction and personality to support it.





    http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/11/1...-hits-big-time

    Does anyone remember when Metric played the Starlite Room?

    Neither do we. It’s like this band was born to play the hockey arenas. After a long road up the ranks, its first appearance at Rexall Place on Thursday night was a commanding performance that hit all the right notes, so to speak, to make for one Big Rock Show. It wasn’t a full house, but this is modern rock, not mainstream rock.

    Big difference (at least until the former eventually becomes the latter). Besides, this young crowd, maybe 7,000, with hundreds crushed to the front of the stage in the general admission floor area, made up for it with sheer enthusiasm.

    Metric fans have been waiting to see this unusual Canadian new wave band hit the big time for quite some time, and there was much rejoicing.

    Singer Emily Haines was the centre of attention, naturally, looking quite fetching in black hot pants as she hopped around the stage and behind her rack of synthesizers while singing stark yet powerful songs of discontent and alienation. There are clearly some issues here.

    The first words out of her mouth were “I’m just as f---ed up as they say,” from the opening tune, a new one called Artificial Nocturne, whatever that’s supposed to mean. And were people actually saying that?

    Hard to know.

    This is a mysterious band. Heavy on bottom end, driving grooves, tons of electronic junk on the vocals and great, fat blats of synth, the sound of the band was rather distant at times, despite its power, but the sweet vocals saved it from being completely cold. The show also included such songs as Speed the Collapse, Empty, Help I’m Alive, each expressing a gleefully grim worldview. Definitely a theme here.

    “I’m the blade, you’re a knife, I’m the weight, you’re the kite,” Haines sang in Breathing Underwater, a song that seems to be about an uneven relationship. Songs like Dead Disco take on pop culture in general: “Dead disco, dead funk, dead rock ‘n’ roll … everything has been done.”

    Metric’s biggest hits are more telling. Monster Hospital, coming near the end of an almost two-hour show, is a party song without a light at the end of the tunnel, the entire arena singing its tagline, “I fought the war, but the war won.” Along the same lines was Gold Guns Girls — even faster and more intense — asking repeatedly if the title of the song is “ever going to be enough?”

    Short answer: No.

    There was hardly a lull in a hard-driving, high-energy, high-tempo show, though towards the end there was a merciful moment of tenderness in the encore song, acoustic guitar and vocals only for Gimme Sympathy.

    Haines didn’t say much at all until she introduced the song, explaining, “I always feel like there’s too much to say, so I hope the songs speak for themselves … I wish I had some answers for you. Got lots of questions, though. If you need any questions, come to me.”

    Fans who came early were treated to the seriously hipster vibes of the Toronto electro-rock band that calls itself Stars.

    Well, it could happen. Wearing too many pretentious hats for its own good – a telling sign, make no mistake - the band at its weakest sounds like an evil fusion of the Tragically Hip and the Arcade Fire, though it could be a lot worse. At best, it’s pure magic — driving grooves, thick synth-laden washes and soaring vocals to create an entirely original sound that can only be described as “new wave soul.” We Don’t Want Your Body had especially funky flavour. Great song.

    Bonus points for dedicating a song to Wayne Gretzky. You can’t go wrong with that when you play Edmonton’s hockey arena.

    -- Mike Ross

    DALE61: best legs in show biz eat your heart out gaga


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2006...rock.shopping5

    When Metric's Emily Haines smoothed lip-smacking gloss over Broken Social Scene's winsome Anthem for a Seventeen Year Old Girl back in 2003, a star was born. Here was a woman whose soft, girlish vocals only served to sharpen her spiky viewpoint; an emergent talent who wasn't content to merely exploit the musical DNA - and band members - she shared with Canada's leading scenesters.

    Released the same year, Metric's Old World Underground, Where Are You, put Haines firmly centre stage. As pop as it was political, the debut was a mind-engaging dash around the dancefloor, an electroclash-influenced, new-wave plea to the mainstream to "fight off the lethargy", as Haines sang in the candy-coloured anti-war cry of Combat Baby. But the album never escaped the feeling of being a one-woman show and stirred the ghoulish spectre of Britpop's Sleeper.

    Two years and two Rolling Stones support-slots later, Live It Out is a confident, cohesive exorcism of such unflattering ghosts. Lighter on the obsequious keyboards - played by Haines - and heavier on Jimmy Shaw's hard guitars, it's the sound of a band moving even further away from their contemporaries.

    It's to Sonic Youth and their gritty punk that they've turned, with Haines inching closer to P J Harvey's questioning attitude and vengeful delivery, especially on the provocative strut of Glass Ceiling. There's little of the acoustic loveliness that shimmered in Old World Underground, Where Are You, but instead a series of well-executed honey traps, the coquettish uh-uh-uh of Too Little Too Late turning into the triumphant riot grrrl squeal of "I've been bad!" on the itchy Monster Hospital. But Haines never lets her sassiness encroach on her vulnerability, which shines through the one-night-stand solitude of Poster of a Girl.

    The politics are still there, but this time it's more personal. "You can take a live wire into the bath with you/ For the feeling you can't find," she coos in Too Little Too Late, making suicide sound like the most gorgeous option in the world. Patriarch on a Vespa cleverly tears up old-fashioned expectations, with Haines musing "are we all brides to be?" before launching a scathing attack on domesticity.

    Though too many of these songs nudge the five-minute mark, Metric have discovered a maturity that matches Haines's complexity. Broken Social Scene were lucky to get her when they did.




    http://edmontonjournal.com/entertain...2-rexall-place

    Concert review: Metric stronger than most arena acts, yet they don't attract the crowds

    By Sandra Sperounes, Edmonton Journal

    EDMONTON - Some bands aren’t meant to play hockey arenas.

    Metric isn’t one of those bands.

    OK, so Emily Haines and her synth-rockers can’t quite fill 10,000-plus arenas –- yet. No official attendance figures were provided for Thursday’s show at Rexall Place, but there were probably close to 4,500 fans –- at least enough to pack the Shaw Conference Centre.

    After a 12-year, five-album career in Canada, this paltry number is ridiculous, when you think about it. Not only do the foursome have a much stronger catalogue than several arena acts – The Killers, Ke$ha, and LMFAO, for starters –- Metric are more dynamic, passionate performers.

    Haines, one of rock’s boldest lyricists, cooed like a wounded angel — about musical preferences, losing the war, listening to someone having sex in another room — yet bounced around like a wiry prizefighter. She paced, she lunged her long legs, she raised her knees, and to hammer the point home, she repeatedly punched the air during Help I’m Alive, from their fourth — and arguably best — album, Fantasies (2009).

    Haines can certainly command a stage, even one accented with Tron-like lights, but I fantasize about a time when she no longer has to divide her attention between singing and playing keyboards. I know the instrument is like her security blanket – she always seems to completely let loose when she’s behind it – but she needs to hire a touring keyboard player and focus on fronting her band.

    Not that Haines is the only intriguing member of Metric to watch. Jimmy Shaw often looked like he was trying to shake riffs out of his guitar with his entire body. Josh Winstead, one half of Metric’s American rhythm section, pogoed around to the dreamy opener, Artificial Nocturne and other tunes from the band’s fifth and latest album, Synthetica.

    Together with drummer Joules Scott-Key, the foursome played a taut and tense set –- as if they were mixing a cocktail of fragile vocals with punk riffs and new-wave synths, hoping for a glorious explosion.

    At times, they got it — as on Satellite Mind, with its sinewy rhythms, smouldering vocals and increasingly faster lyrics spilling out of Haines; or Monster Hospital, a kitschy synth-pop number which swelled into a ferocious punk anthem: “I fought the war, I fought the war, but the war won.”

    At others, Metric prolonged the pay-off — as with the extended dance-rock version of Dead Disco or the double-dutch skip of Youth Without Youth, one of a handful of standouts on Synthetica. It’s not the band’s best studio effort, but for the most part, its layers and singalongable lyrics — including “Is this my life?“ (Breathing Underwater) and “They got it, they want it, they give it away” (Lost Kitten) — seemed to translate better in a live setting.

    “I hope the songs speak for themselves,” said Haines toward the end of the band’s four-song encore, one of the few times she spoke to the crowd. “Anyway, I’ll just say thank you. You can’t go wrong with that, right?”

    You can’t go wrong with Metric. Haines and her bandmates deserve to sell out ice rinks and football stadiums around the world, and they know it. They just need a little help sharing the knowledge with others -– and with any luck, those who were at Rexall will spread the gospel. While the temptation to keep Metric to ourselves is great, it’s time to share the foursome with as many people as we can.

    Even Metric’s openers, Stars, proved their mettle as an arena act –- a much more surprising revelation, considering their penchant for soft-pop duets. Yet the Montreal six-piece’s dreamscapes filled the ice rink, buoyed by Torquil Campbell’s chipper delivery — he sounds like Morrissey on a good day – and Amy Millan’s sweet pipes. She came off as a much happier or more innocent version of Haines. Perhaps Millan isn’t quite as damaged by life, love and the music industry, or her bruises are able to heal much faster than those of her colleague.

    If you weren’t keen on seeing Stars in Rexall, however, they’re planning a return visit soon. A much smaller venue is more than likely. “Is that OK if we come back to Edmonton in a few months?” asked Campbell. “Will you come and see us?”


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqldwoDXHKg

    Johnny Blaze: argument song between a couple. Being so close to something that you think could work think might not work... something "better left unknown". After the relationship is over... "After all this is gone who would you rather be?" "Beatles" i.e. clean-cut, straight edge or "rolling stones": wild, loose, sexual, drugs and rock 'n roll. Talk to me... "play me something" hopefully something positive like The Beatles: "Here comes the sun". Make sense?


    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/m...CD-review.html

    New Metric song Dreams so Real rides on a bed of distortion that sounds like an underground dubstep experiment, over which the disembodied voice of Emily Haines levitates, questioning her role as a singer in something as quaintly old fashioned as a rock band in the 21st century: “Have I ever really helped/ Anybody but myself/ To believe in the power of songs?” As a chiming, liquid guitar figure rings out, weaving into the synth wave, she wonders “what if those days are gone?” Yet the answer to her self-doubt is articulated in a chorus resolve to “shut up and carry on”.

    How can rock grow and thrive in this digital age of urban beats and pop plasticity? Canadian quartet Metric fret over this dilemma on a fifth album so thrilling it almost makes the question academic. Artificial Nocturne opens in a slow burn of ambient synth-pop that takes a provocatively long time to get going, delaying the entrance charge of drums until two minutes have passed. But the mood abruptly shifts with autotuned glam rock stomp Youth Without Youth, chunky guitars powering up a deadpan anthem of extended adolescence while robot voices deliver the hook line.

    The sound is nerdy, smart and sexy, which would also be a good description of frontwoman Haines, whose delivery can switch from frosty detachment to purring sex kitten.

    Synthetica merges electronic music with the organic spirit of college rock. Not that there is anything radical in that. Bands have been experimenting with the electro-rock blend since the mid-Eighties. What feels right (or at least absolutely right now) about Metric is the perfect balance, every element in its place and in service of a set of sinuous, hook-laden, elegantly crafted pop songs.


    http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature...cs-new-wave-ad

    From Old World Underground to Hollywood (and Back): Metric's New Wave Adventure

    By Jer Fairall 15 September 2010

    . . . . In Metric’s early days, however, New Wave had yet to be re-absorbed into pop culture’s all consuming sponge, leaving Haines’ love of synth-pop without much of a popular outlet, especially with bands like the Strokes and the White Stripes forging a movement on the back-to-basics, and decidedly non-synthetic, garage rock movement. Still, Haines remembers the movement as being responsible for a particularly encouraging time for independent musicians like themselves, regardless of the Haines and company’s own stylistic leanings.

    “There was not a lot of respect for the synth kicking around New York at that time, but we definitely benefited from the attitude and the energy of those bands, particularly the Strokes, who people love to diss—I don’t know why, but for us it was like ‘oh great, these rich kids just made hanging out with your friends look cool’. Believe me, after hanging out with A&R guys doing demos for [them] in London for a year there’s nowhere you’d rather be than in this shitty basement in the lower East side. Even though we were playing synths and doing, like, electro, which wouldn’t become okay until several years later, the energy was huge and being able to take that back to Canada where we grew up and connect with the community of friends that was Broken Social Scene and Stars and Death From Above and all these other bands—it’s the beauty and magic of life outside your control”.

    “[New Wave] was just where we were at. That’s what we heard, that’s what we wanted: my synth dreams that will one day come true of truly expressing my inner synth geek one day will happen. It’s not like you make a strategic move, it’s like you do what you wanna do and what feels right to you. I love the garage rock stuff but I wasn’t gonna suddenly just drop what Jimmy and I have been developing, which is this total love of electro and dance music and trying to bring those New Wave sounds and the songwriting and the energy of rock and roll all together. Dance rock is not a new idea now, but it’s hard to try and express that in front of 20 people, it feels kinda stupid, but that’s part of the test. You just keep doing it. I’m glad we didn’t give up. It was hard to make a synth look rock and roll for a minute, but it worked out.”

    That Metric were lucky enough to be engaged early on with both a sound and a geographical scene that would each go on to gain popular acceptance makes for an encouraging success story, though hardly a new one. Throughout the history of pop music, many talents who might have otherwise remained mired in obscurity have had the good fortune to ride a fashionable movement to some degree of fame. Think of the early 90s “alternative” explosion for only the most obvious example of underground acts getting their shot at mainstream-level exposure. Never, though, has exposure appeared so easy to attain than it is now, when bands can measure popularity in the number of hits they get on their MySpace profiles and careers can be launched by homemade YouTube clips. Often cited as a “democratization” of the music industry, the internet does not actually remove the corporate middle man from band-to-fan interaction (bands still rely on corporate entities to promote and release their music, even if they happen to be newer, hipper corporate entities), but it does find the dreaded “industry” aspect of making and distributing music at least appearing somewhat minimized.

    “[Our] first three years as a band were pre-MySpace, pre-iTunes,” Haines recalls, “so its definitely been, for the ethics of this band—the principles and the way that we like to live and make music—the internet has been an amazing development and made everything possible. It’s almost impossible to do justice in words the feeling of awe and gratitude we have having started out completely on the ground and watching the crowds go from 20 people to 20,000. We’re so grateful to the people who found us themselves and its just such a simple and pure interaction when you take all of the bullshit of the music industry out. We’re four people who met and want to play music together—we like to travel and play music—and there’s all these people who want to listen to music and go to concerts and I think without the internet we would have spent more time than we already did bogged down with labels.”

    The current model might not quite represent the utopia for independent musicians that it is tempting to paint it as, however, and even Haines admits a “concern […] that bands [might be] lost in the mass of multiplication of MySpace pages, that it’s harder to stand out.” If anything, Metric’s success should serve as an example to younger bands that developing a savvy head about the music business remains a crucial part of surviving even in an era that offers such a diversity of pathways to success. “I hope,” she explains, “what we achieved on Fantasies will mean we really get to graduate to what we always wanted, which is just to make it be about the music.”

    Perhaps as a result of her own recent personal triumphs Haines is, despite her concerns and her often harsh words for the corporate end of making and selling music, refreshingly optimistic about the current state of the industry. “I feel like music was particularly burdened by people who—their motivation for being involved in it and their usage for it and their approach to it made it really lame for people who genuinely love it. I hope that one of the side effects of the Online Revolution, or whatever, is that it kind of weeds out people who were doing it just for money. Obviously people gotta make a living, but when it stops being that lucrative, where you can just walk in and just prop something up and walk out, I think its gonna mean that the industry can thrive and be more healthy because people who are still sticking around with music on the business side as well as the creative side are gonna have to be the ones who really love it.”


    http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/...ric-synthetica

    Metric: Synthetica

    By AJ Ramirez 12 June 2012

    Sound Affects Editor

    Metric has been getting its house in order to greet some new visitors. Following some high-profile soundtrack contributions (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and respectable Billboard modern rock chart placings for singles from 2009’s Fantasies, the Toronto four-piece is on the cusp of the big time. Accordingly, the group’s latest release feels like a consolidation, one that focuses and streamlines Metric’s quixotically synth-loaded rockist swagger in anticipation of mass acceptance.

    Sure, Metric is making a big ado about how its music is now being self-released, and that Synthetica is some statement about maintaining integrity in a dehumanizing industry. Whatever… Metric has always carried itself with a very classicist sort of rock ‘n’ roll attitude, the kind that gamely fits the more unnuanced popular conceptions of how rock stars should come across. On record, these neo New Wavers carried themselves as if they were the coolest people in the club, and long seemed that they would welcome heavy radio play and packed venues readily. Interestingly enough, on Synthetica the quartet feels more mechanical than ever before: the beats are rigid and exhibit a programmed flavor, the synths and distortion boast a shiny’n’buffed veneer, and Emily Haines’ vocal mannerisms are professionally delivered with unwavering preciseness. If mechanoids wanted to form a garage rock band, this is what it would sound like.

    Metric could stand to be less mechanical on this record. As if assembled on a factory line, Synthetica is permeated by consistency and sameness, for good and ill. There are half-realized stabs at transcendent grandeur in the airy, drumless sweep found in segments of “Artificial Nocturne” and “Dreams So Real”. Aside from those moments, Metric is far more interested in relying on repetition and attitude to build up an album full of dancey, ultra-processed robot rock that sticks doggedly to its self-imposed parameters. Metric is a very rhythmic band to begin with, so it’s understandable that a cut like the single “Youth Without Youth” would be nothing without its brawny shuffle groove that barely wavers from its basic intent. However, Synthetica suffers from a lack of variance not only in beats, but in Haines’ phrasing. “Youth Without Youth” may eek by due to her cocky, cool demeanor, but “Dreams So Real” doesn’t have such a saving grace, as Haines utters her lyrics in a monotonous rhythmic pattern that turns the entire cut into the musical equivalent of a run-on sentence. After about 20 seconds of the same thing, it’s hard to not skip ahead on the tracklist.

    Synthetica is not bereft of hooks—look no further than “Lost Kitten”, where Haines’ playtime-like melodies are charmingly delivered with a hint of a joyful squeal. What happens though is that Metric’s use of repeating phrasings and undiverging rhythms robs those hooks of their specialness, turning them into yet another overused motif and making the tracks hard to remember after a listen is concluded (“Wanderlust” inventively avoids the fleeting memory pitfall by adding a totally out-of-place Lou Reed on backing vocals—which raises the question of who in the world wrangles the croaky protopunk curmudgeon into a guest spot for his singing). That leaves listeners to fixate primary focus on the tidy production (perfect for 21st century modern rock radio), which is more commercially-minded surface glare than finely-crafted details.

    If there’s one moment on Synthetica that has me thinking Metric is really onto something here, it’s the first minute of “Breathing Under Water”. There’s a majesty to the segment, where Joules Scott-Key’s snare drum flourishes build up anticipation behind Haines’ voice as it arches upward, gliding into heavenly high notes in the sweetest spots. Once the band settles into a fuller propulsive rhythm, though, the tension that was built up dissipates slightly yet enough to undercut the greatness song appeared to be on the verge of fulfilling. Suffice to say, Metric doesn’t make up for that spent promise elsewhere on the LP.

    Synthetica preps Metric to hit the masses head-on, and while the presentation is up to snuff, it’s hard to get all that excited about the individual tracks. None of them really stand out, and there’s a distinct sense that the whole Metric aesthetic is more important than the songs themselves here. Which is probably not a wise move, as a full-length listen to Synthetica in all its endlessly-restating glory will only do more to hammer home how few tricks the band has up its collective sleeve.


    http://www.spin.com/#reviews/metric-synthetica-mom-pop

    June 14 2012, 10:44 AM ET

    by Josh Modell

    Unlike Broken Social Scene — her besties in the very social scene from which she sprang — Emily Haines has never seemed destined for anonymity. Since 2003, when she presented the world at large with her own band Metric — via the new wave-indebted firecracker Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? — Haines has sure-footedly and purposefully inched closer to the brightest possible spotlight. Her band’s fourth album, 2009’s Fantasies provided the tipping point, pushing Metric into big rooms and onto Twilight soundtracks. And now, Synthetica completes the journey: It’s big, glossy, sexy, and willing, but never cheap.

    Intentionally or not, Metric also takes their lessons from a half-dozen chart-topping bands, beginning most directly with Death Cab for Cutie. On album opener “Artificial Nocturne,” Haines sounds a little like Ben Gibbard, while the music echoes “I Will Possess Your Heart,” with its big, dark intro giving way to a humming motorik groove. It’s actually the most left-field moment on the record (save for a certain vocal cameo; more about that in a minute), as if Metric were proving they could experiment if they wanted to, but now isn't the time.

    Which is fine, because Haines and guitarist James Shaw sound better the closer they get to the center of any given musical target, whether that was their version of Blondie a decade ago or their version of Garbage here. Haines emulates Shirley Manson’s spirit on both the fabulous “Youth Without Youth” (whose AutoTuned ghost voices are a nice touch) and “The Void,” which suggests that Haines’ once-foregrounded political leanings have given way to something more personal: She sings with some regret about not being able to keep pace as she gets older. (Nice touch that the sentiment is couched in late-night electro — she still knows what it sounds like to party all night, even if she’s personally not doing it as much anymore.)

    And that’s not the only place where Haines looks inward on Synthetica. She’s a bit obsessed with positioning herself as the real thing, perhaps concerned by just how user-friendly these songs are. She wants to play in the big leagues and feel good about it, the way Gibbard, Bono, Chris Martin, and Jay-Z do. To sell out arenas without selling out. “I’m not synthetica,” she sings on the title track, before dropping this slightly unfortunate statement of purpose: “We’re all the time confined to fit the mold / But I won’t ever let them make a loser of my soul.” Exploring the same territory, “Clone” sounds indebted to the Drive soundtrack, with chilly synths underscoring the sentiment that different equals better: “I look like everyone you know now,” she laments.

    She doesn’t look like everyone you know now, of course, and she knows it. Unlike everyone you know, she’s got potential hits in her hip pocket, from “Breathing Underwater” (which sounds like the ass-kicking younger sister of “With or Without You”) to “Speed the Collapse,” which features another Death Cab-sticky chorus. And she’s even got new friends along for the ride: Notorious grouch Lou Reed (who's collaborated with Haines before) shows up for penultimate track “Wanderlust,” which might just be an official welcome to the big leagues from an old master. The song’s pure bliss is a surprise — we all know what can happen when Reed teams up with other grouches, and it ain’t pretty.

    But Reed is just the unlikely cherry atop this confection — something he’s probably never been been before, come to think of it. Synthetica manufactures dependable, big-hearted joy straight through, whether it’s slightly gloomy or coquettish or just flat-out pop fun. There’s a certain comfort in that familiarity, in watching something terrific unfold exactly as you expected it to.


    http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_a...hp?name=Metric

    Fantasies [Metric/Last Gang, 2009]
    Sometimes calibrating love takes more brains than condemning consumerism--usually, in fact ("Gimme Sympathy," "Satellite Mind"). ***


    http://www.blackbookmag.com/nightlif...haines-1.28293

    By Ben Barna , April 16, 2009

    I have this weird thing where I like to claim some personal ownership in Emily Haines. Maybe it's because we both grew up in Toronto. Maybe it's because I've seen her play a bunch of times. Maybe it's because she made me smell her armpit once. Or maybe it's because I have deeply strange personal issues. Whatever it be, the lead singer of new-wave funsters Metric is by far one of Canada's hottest exports (that face! that voice! those legs!), and after a four-year stay in between-album purgatory, she and her bandmates have returned and are rejuvenated, with a catchy, fizzy new record. Maybe it's because she makes great music.

    Fantasies follows the Metric paradox of moody lyrics set to groovy riffs. But for a band known for lamenting the woes of society, this album feels less state-of-the-union, and more state-of-themselves. Haines recently underwent a self-imposed, self-reflective exile in Buenos Aires (beautifully evoked in this documentary) where she wrote songs for the album, far away from the white noise of the music industry hype machine. But speaking to Haines recently, she was excited about the new record, ready to take her show on the road and defiant about online vitriol, and the inevitable album leak. Not to mention, a little potty-mouthed.

    You did a video for “Gimme Sympathy” before “Help I’m Alive,” which was the first single off the album. Why’s that? Well, actually “Help I’m Alive” is like the song that ran out the back door of the studio and snuck away with the other 9 songs looking guilty and not telling us where the song went. In December, we did this tour across Canada, that we had planned for a while, that was sort of in conjunction with a couple of charities that help out kids. We decided to call it the "Help, I’m Alive Tour", because that made sense, kind of spurring the idea of compassion. And at the last minute said, “Well, let’s put out a limited-edition vinyl,” of the tour, for the song “Help I’m Alive”, and as soon as we did that, it leaked. We found that it leaked by getting phone calls from fuckin’ Australia. Basically, the song went to #1 in Canada, and performed better than any other Metric song ever in the world.

    So when you recorded that song, you weren’t like, “This is the first single?” No, and it’s kind of that thing that happens on albums where—you know there’s always everyone’s favorite song? And then there’s some people who don’t know the music business who are like, “That should be the single!” And everyone who knows the business is like, “Oh, no way, that can’t be the single.” That was totally that song. It proved what we always hoped to be true, which is those rules are not written in stone, and people are open-minded about music, and it’s not all like, corrupt and tied up. Your little song can make it if people like it, you know?

    In the documentary you said that you were unhappy and you weren’t sure where your life was headed. I’m sure a lot of people must have heard that and been like, “What is she talking about? She’s a rock star, how could you be unhappy? There’s no direction? What is she talking about?” What would you say to people who would react like that? I’d say, has nobody read Great Jones Street, by Don DeLillo? [Laughs] That’s what I’d say. You should read it.

    What’s it about? It’s about this rock star who just disappears from the whole reality that he’s in because he just can’t handle it any more. And for me, it wasn’t like a particularly dramatic thing. I think I was just being honest, that the idea of what a life is supposed to be like for a successful musician is such a trap, and it’s a trick. We’re really determined as people to not have our lives be something that we’ve lost control of, and that’s the trade off, you know? Like, that’s the cost of success—that you never have time for anyone but yourself, you’re constantly exhausted, you don’t have a home, your relationships are always in shambles. Like, no fuckin’ way. I’m not doing that. So when we came off of the last run, it was like, we’d been touring for 3 years before Live It Out—you know, 300 shows a year, literally—and then 3 years after Live It Out, and then I put out a solo record, and then I did that for a year, and the day I get home and drop my bag it’s like, ‘Okay, time to write a new record.’

    And who determines that? Why is it time to put out a new record? Well, that’s the record label we were with at the time. And that’s the logical thing, it’s what you’re supposed to do.

    But, isn’t an album supposed to be something that comes organically? That’s what I’m saying! We did write a lot of music while on a successful, sold-out tour, road-testing those songs, but at the end of it we were all like, ‘I don’t want to make that record.’ That’s a record about a band trying to make a record, songs about trying to write a song, and being tired, and sick of airports. I don’t want to inhabit that, and I have too much respect for our fans to subject them to that. So, we discussed it as a band, and it wasn’t like me disappearing from them. It was just like, we got to drop this plot for a second and get back into the bigger picture of what it is to be alive, and remember that the world is a blast, and incredible. And all these little things that are accumulating and seeming so important—it’s just such a narrow existence. I thought that I really had tunnel vision. I think that some people enjoy that, like being the center of their whole life, but I don’t do well in that setting.

    Why did you choose Buenos Aires as the place to kind of escape to? Because nobody knew us. I didn’t know a single person. I didn’t know anything about it except things that intrigued me historically, and architecturally. But more importantly, I was just looking for a room that had a piano, and it was literally like a search engine thing, like, ‘PIANO, ROOM, CITY, RENT’.

    Did you write all the songs off the album in Buenos Aires? A few of them. We did others in this barn house studio that we found in northern Seattle after coming off the UK tour, which was a really good time, just leaving civilization. We just pulled a little Fleetwood Mac. That was a bit debaucherous, but that’s okay. I’m sitting with the band right now, and everybody just sort of laughed and cringed at the same time when I mentioned that.

    In the doc you also mentioned that you wanted to escape the pressure of sound like bands that were considered cool at the time. When I referenced that, it was just like, this feeling. It’s like, okay, so in the whole world there are just these 4 bands? It can’t be. I think it was just feeling so sick of hearing hype about things. It was the difference of being moved by music, and being impressed by music. Do you know what I mean? It’s like, I want to be moved. I don’t want to be like, “That’s a hot riff.” I don’t really give a fuck about that.

    Even though you guys are known for hot riffs. We are kind of big on the hit riffs, but it’s got to have some emotion behind it.

    Do you expose yourself to online hype and negativity? The internet has become this place where you can just slander people anonymously and get away with it. I know, I totally take it with a grain of salt. I’m a big believer in democracy, and if somebody wants to hang out online, and I can’t believe—on both extremes—the time people have to praise and defend us to the ends of the earth, and I also can’t believe the people who have the time to say that we’re a Blondie rip-off band, or something. It’s just like, whatever you want to do, dude. That’s cool. I’ve never really gone on and commented on anything in my life, so I can’t really relate, but I can’t imagine that there’s any point in stifling that, you know? It’s pretty hilarious, and I don’t really have anything to hide, so I don’t feel very offended.

    A lot of people tend to pay attention to the negative over the positive. Right? I try to ignore it all so that it won’t really affect me one way or the other.

    Were you worried about the album leaking? We kept the record under wraps for 6 months, and when it was in our hands, the record was air-tight. We knew that it would happen at some point, but we were really disappointed that it happened through one of our label partners, but that’s how it happens 99% of the time. So then, our way to deal with it was to stream the whole album on MySpace, which we did very quickly. We put it up as sort of a reaction, because as a music fan you want to hear it, we understand that, but we were sort of heartbroken at the thought of people hearing a second-rate, audio-quality version. I don’t care that you all downloaded my record for free, I don’t care because I don’t make any money from albums. But not all of us wear silver spoons. For a band like Metric, we self-finance this, we put all of our own love and energy into it, and I totally understand that people are going to want to hear it, but it comes down to an ethical decision for each individual. If you feel good about it, then I can’t argue with that, but I think our album is good enough to pay, what is it, 8 bucks? I really do. I think it’s worth it. But I’m never going to say that we should be suing somebody for getting it for free.





    Live It Out album review (by Jay Breitling, October 18, 2005):

    If you consider the bands comprising the Broken Social Scene cohort a family, then Metric, fronted by sometimes BSS vocalist Emily Haines, is the extroverted, worldly older sister who likes to rock. A lot. The same older sister composed the hypnotic (and very sexy) song "The Twist," which appeared on 2000's unreleased title Grow Up and Blow Away. And the older sister (many apologies to guitarist Jimmy Shaw, the other original member of the Toronto-based quartet, but for the sake of this Homeric metaphor your band is a woman), on her latest record exceeds her grasp by building her own studio and self-producing an air-tight record of largely unabashed, big-guitar rockers.

    It is hard not to transfer the confidence of Haines' vocals to the entire set, and there is certainly no reason not to. Like a long, steady gaze, the bright production sharply renders every element, even surprising quirks like Seger-style boogie piano in "Glass Ceiling." "Empty" has aggression to spare, and the chorus points accusingly into a magic mirror at a younger self with her back to the wall and a lot of life lessons to come (perhaps a reference to the cold apartments and label troubles in Metric's past). There is still pleasant pop to be had in "Too Little Too Late" and album highlight "The Police and The Private," each of which downshift the pace of Live It Out. The record may have a little less electronic slink than prior efforts, but it has a propulsive energy, even in the mid-tempo tracks, that makes the record easy to like.


    http://www.allmusic.com/album/synthetica-mw0002354324

    Synthetica album review by Tim Sendra:

    After the commercial breakthrough of their 2009 album Fantasies, it would seem kind of unfair to ask Metric to do anything differently on their next outing. That album perfectly took their usual tuneful blend of hooky new wave and spooky synth pop and blew it up to stadium-huge levels while adding more emotional content than ever before. It was a trick that seemed so improbable in the first place that it would be crazy for the group not to try re-creating it on Synthetica. So they did. The album has the same glossy textures, gigantic sounding arrangements, huge choruses, and open-hearted vocals as Fantasies did, but keeps the instantly memorable songs and exposed emotions intact. It also retains the same balance of super hooky songs and gloomy ballads, hitting you in the gut one minute and sending you off cheerfully singing along the next. (It's the same kind of trick Garbage were able to pull off in their prime, and Metric sound very much like a widescreen Garbage throughout Synthetica.) The success that band has achieved hasn't exactly healed Emily Haines' wounds, and her vocals have the same powerfully aching quality that has always been there -- they cut through the music and right to the heart of the listener. Songs like "Artificial Nocturne" and "Dreams So Real" hit very, very hard thanks to her vocals. Elsewhere, she shows a ton of range on tracks as varied as the dramatic "Speed the Collapse," the creepily cute "Lost Kitten," and the dreamily desolate "Nothing But Time." The band provides capable backing throughout, framing her voice in a soft web of sound and creating modern pop that goes down easily but never bores. Only the unwelcome appearance of Lou Reed on "The Wanderlust" breaks the mood of the record and brings it down to earth a bit. Even with his warbling croak gumming things up, the song is a highlight on an album full of them. That Metric were able to follow up their best record with another just as good is quite an achievement, hopefully something they will do again and again.




    https://www.ukmix.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=36411

    The Canadians are here to save us. Metric are the latest in a long line of bands -- The Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene and The New Pornographers among them -- that have reintroduced Americans to the beauty of melodic guitar rock. Like their Canuck contemporaries, Metric take rock 'n' roll to a smarter, more sophisticated place than do most of today's American bands.

    Live It Out takes a sophisticated approach to punk rock, mixing its raucous melodies with ambient sounds and slow, ghostly pauses. Opener "Empty", for instance, begins with ethereal synths and singer Emily Haines's longing keen. After two minutes, Nirvana-style guitars crash, Haines sings louder and the music kicks into a truly propulsive groove.

    Most of Live It Out bears a mild resemblance to Broken Social Scene's more chaotic tunes, so it's no surprise that Haines's show-stealing vocals featured prominently on the wonderful BSS rocker "Almost Crimes". Here, she proves herself to be amazingly versatile, shifting effortlessly between "Glass Ceiling"'s minor key musings and "Too Little Too Late"'s tender earnestness. Jimmy Shaw's guitar stays perfectly in step, whether it's shaking in ecstatic fits or slowly picking out a lead line.

    Eventually, "Police and the Private" brings Live It Out to an abrupt halt. After earning our attention with unrelenting rock, Metric completely switch gears, putting Haines front and center over a bizarre, wandering keyboard line. It proves to be a perfect move; she cuts through the mannered keyboard fog with the album's best melody line, singing, "Lord lord mother, we are all losing love."

    Live It Out is full of longing, anger and emptiness. Sex lies around every corner, and often turns to violence, as it does in "Too Little Too Late": "Sure for the first time you're wearing the right clothes / Now take them off / Meet me on the band room rug / Tie my right hand to the ride." That violence invariably points to power struggles and feelings of helplessness -- familiar feelings, if not sources of particular pride. Metric are fighting for their freedom, even as they ask others to tie them down. Their struggle culminates in "Police and the Private"'s childish plea: "Lord, listen, lover, we are all missing mama." Doesn't it always come down to basic human needs?

    Other Canadian imports may have outshined Metric in the past, but they're clearly ready to make some noise of their own. Once again, it falls to Canada to remind us just how powerful rock 'n' roll can be.

    -- Wes Holmes


    http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/metric-live2005

    Metric: Live It Out [album review] By Peter Funk (24 October 2005)

    There are a lot of things you can call Metric, but enigmatic isn’t one of them. The band writes uniformly excellent songs emphasizing the alternately sultry then angry vocal talents of lead singer (and clear focal/marketing point) Emily Haines. On 2003’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? the band played chicken with the ghosts of new wave. Whether they were leaning on the beat and keyboard heavy end of a spectrum that might be anchored by Berlin or a more angular guitar sound, the band was remarkably good at finding a comfortable middle ground where melody and delicacy could share space with controlled rocking out. Instead of merely recreating this balancing act on Live It Out Metric has made a commitment to their louder guitar-centric side; they pile on the guitar chops and leave the beats to Haines’ other band Broken Social Scene.

    “Empty”, the opening track, opens with a mellow keyboard wash lapping at your speakers like an incoming tide, soon a simple guitar measure chimes over the top and Haines breathy vocal tells us that “there was no way out, the only way out is to give in”. The song’s opening sounds very much like an outtake from Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?; it has the same tone, the same feel, the same organizing elements but this is no “Hustle Rose” there’s something sinister just below the surface of the song fueled both by Haines’ lyrics and the feeling that the band is holding something back. Then, at the two-minute mark, the guitars come and they come like an avalanche. The songs’ main lyrical refrain, “shake your head it’s empty, shake your hips, move your feet”, coupled with a decidedly non “dancey” wail of riff and feedback is easily interpreted as a refutation of the band’s former self while also an introduction of a new political viewpoint. In paying close attention to the lyrics you’ll find Haines’ worldview to be more world-weary. The clever, bordering on trite, proclamations that filled much of Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? have been unceremoniously dumped. It’s an unexpected edge, but a sensible (arguably necessary) reaction to the current state of the world.

    After “Empty” the band doesn’t let up. There’s little rest as the band blasts through the riff heavy bombast of “Glass Ceiling” and “Handshakes”. The songs guitar heavy sound contrasted with Haines gentle nearly non-committal voice actually gives the songs an unexpected weight. It’s a delicious dichotomy that creates a heavy tension especially during Haines overtly political moments. She takes on the tone of an everywoman trying to make sense of an act of God. She doesn’t chastise her listeners as much as ask them to help her figure this whole thing out. “Handshakes” is full of undisguised contempt for the current American administration and naked consumerism in general. “Glass Ceiling”, a brooding distorted guitar anchoring the song, is all frank railing against complacency.

    “Too Little Too Late” and “Poster of a Girl” give us back some of the keyboard based melody that we might have expected from Metric. But even here the keyboards are deeper and darker, tending to hold the songs back, where as they used to bubble towards the surface like pockets of air. “Monster Hospital” is an undisguised anti-war tirade set to blazing guitars and an almost geometric solo that’s all starts and stops, ninety degree angles and unforgiving fuzz.

    “Police and the Private” gives us a slice of the “old” Metric: keyboard based, humming and buzzing, gentle and sweeping. It’s a resting point amidst the barrage and it’s well placed, a flower growing from a crack in the granite.

    Live It Out is certainly no resting on laurels. This is the sound of a band striving to make sense of its environment; an environment encompassing elements political, emotional, and musical. When Metric sets to examining both these internal and external environments the sounds that they make are angrier, louder, and more biting. When you stop and look around it all makes a lot of sense.


    http://drownedinsound.com/releases/4...re-are-you-now

    Old World Underground, Where are You Now? album review by Jesus Chigley

    Chances are you're probably already in love with Emily Haines. Remember the breathy whispered vocals of 'Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl' on Broken Social Scene's stellar 'You Forgot It In People'? She's the woman responsible. Don't expect more of the same spacey atmospherics here, though - 'Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?' is a blend of spunky, synth-laden indie-rock and polished pop, finally available here almost two years after it's stateside release.

    With a rhythm section so tight it makes your eyes water and Haines' schizophrenic keyboards, Metric stick to the mathematically structured connotations of their name without being too rigid or soulless. Deadly hi-hats rebound off new wave synths and gently throbbing bass lines to give ten songs that sound fresher and more intelligent than what might be construed as yet more retro-revivalism. 'Hustle Rose’ is an unfamiliar nightclub on a cold night, a plaintive piano melody laid over rumbling, rolling rhythms which give way to chugging riffing and siren-like synths. 'Succexy' boasts not only a sweetly sibilant chorus as Haines hisses 'Invasion's so succexy' over disco hi-hats, but also lyrical smarts, proving that musicians can talk politics without resorting to tired anti-Bush platitudes.

    It's obvious Metric have a knack for creating smart, catchy pop as almost all of these tracks could be destined for singledom. 'Dead Disco' stands out especially with it's bombastic, shout-out-loud chorus and Joules Scott-Key's superb drumming, whilst last years single _'Combat Baby' has already paid its dues with in a flurry of Garbage-like energy. However, while their lyricism and the album title itself seems to crave either a revolution or a return to form ('Wet Blanket' asks if it's 'wrong to want more than a folk song'), there's little experimentation to be found here, meaning some songs fail to make as much impact as their neighbours.

    Metric question a lot throughout 'Old World Underground..' from hipsters to fashion magazine rockstars, class and media war coverage, and luckily for them, they have enough tunes, conviction and personality to support it.
    Last edited by HERO; 01-26-2016 at 12:53 AM.

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