Metric | Synthetica

MMI/Mom+Pop (2012)
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  June 5, 2012
4.0 4.0 Stars

Synthetica - Metric

Of all the Canadian acts that stumbled onto the scene in the early aughts, Metric have been the most consistent in putting out quality material. Whereas some alum on labels like the vaunted Arts & Crafts have suffered lineup mishaps and breakups (the Stills), or have yet to explode beyond their home country (the Dears), or haven't caught on due to being too left of center (the Hidden Cameras), Metric keep pushing the boundaries, expanding themselves musically and managing to keep building their fanbase while retaining that ever fickle original audience. Synthetica stays true to form, from opener "Artificial Nocturne," where singer Emily Haines intones over a single, languid, synthesized accompaniment, "I'm just as fucked up as they say," before the song shifts into a bouncy beat that owes a debt to Kasabian's "Reason Is Treason." That particular sonic change-up is indicative of things to come; throughout the album there's beguiling pop like "Breathing Under Water," synth-heavy excursions like "Dreams So Real," and bouts of indie-quirk catchiness like "Clone" and "Lost Kittens" — the latter making it hard to resist swaying along to all of its glorious and simplistic whimsy. Concurrently, Metric have always had a dark side lurking just beneath the poppy surface. Here it's evident on the title track, where even an airy acoustic breakdown can't shake the feeling of discontent. "I can think for myself/I've got something no pill could ever kill," Haines seethes slowly and defiantly over a quick moving, fuzzed out guitar salvo. Less polished than its predecessor, 2009's Fantasies, Synthetica brings all the varied influences and styles together in perfect synchronization.
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