Metric’s Synthetica – Review

Metric’s latest album delivers the same wiry freshness its title promises: Towering production and racing tempo, a multitude of noises mounting in overdrive, and some hair-raising dread.

Synthetica comes like a flash of particularly twentieth-first century fortitude and fright. We face a flood of digital dreams. Shall we stand our ground or accelerate the fall? Emily Haines’ lyrics challenge us listeners to consider our own feeble identities, the long-forsaken purities and the question marks that glimmer just beyond the tips of our fingers or the red-eyed-stare of our visions.

“In the shadow of the big screen everybody begs to be redeemed,” she tattles on the title track. A lilting and urgent sense of self-proclamation pulsates alongside the album’s indie-pop melodies. A resilient beat endures throughout. Yet, there’s a stream of doubt. Ultimately, it becomes a spirited plea for a moment of blameless frolicking. It is not until the ninth track, “Clone,” that they stop for a breath or to discover where they’ve whirled. “We’re already in the aftermath,” they worry.

The album’s mood is one of burning nostalgia for a time before super high-speed connectivity or an ever-changing present. In our era all-technological, where Facebook and YouTube and Google tell us who we are, Metric grasps past the bright lights and racket for something true. The first track’s refrain: “Got false lights for the sun.” We ask, amid the miscellany and multiplicity, where is me? This very modern question underpins the tone and energy of the album.

In fact, as if in attempt to unearth a long-gone age, they revive the legendary Lou Reed on the tenth track, “The Wanderlust.” His familiar knuckleball speak-singing doesn’t miss. The other standout numbers are the bouncy and cunning number 6, “Lost Kitten,” and the boldly nocturnal number 7, “The Void.” In both, we hear Metric seeking the last traces of innocent comfort and frivolous control.

For better or worse, the songs have a unified sound. Possessing all device and all disease appropriate for our age, the lyrics beg for some unlikely blessing of chance. The steady rhythm upkeeps the album’s relentless bound. And like all of us today, Synthetica comes at you punchy, fast-paced and demanding a dance.

Metric will be performing at The Commodore Ballrom on June 23rd ->