Articles tagged with Metric

Metric is no longer just a singles band

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Metric has always been a great singles band, but it has never been able to sustain the momentum over an entire album. Even on the breakout smash Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?, repetitive song structures and little sonic diversity meant that the album felt overlong, even at 37 minutes. Fantasies is the group’s fourth full-length, and it succeeds where the others did not: it’s solid from top to bottom, with album-only tracks that stand up against—and even surpass—the singles.

Fantasies doesn’t reinvent Metric’s sound, but it contains richer textures, which bring the band’s electro-tinged dance rock to life. The acoustic guitar that enters during the chorus of the fuzzy “Gold Guns Girls” is a subtle touch, but it changes the tone of the song completely. Similarly, “Help, I’m Alive” begins with an ominously clanking beat and dire lyrical warnings (“Help, I’m alive / My heart keeps beating like a hammer”) before breaking out into a technicolour bridge with grunge-y powerchords and soaring falsetto vocals.

Of course, Fantasies still has its own knockout single: “Gimme Sympathy” is propulsive disco, with buzzy synthesizer chords and plenty of lyrical allusions to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. But the best song of all is the more restrained “Collect Call,” with its hauntingly echoed guitars and lush dream pop choruses. It would be too slow to work on the radio, but that’s not a bad thing; It proves that Metric is no longer a band that makes great singles—it’s a band that makes great albums.

Fantasies is out via Last Gang. As of this posting, the entire album is streaming from the group’s MySpace.
 
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Beating like a hammer

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After “Combat Baby” was released in 2003, an estimated 35% of Canadian women between the ages of 18 and 24 had a Metric button pinned to their backpack (citation needed). Unfortunately, the band’s latest single, “Help, I’m Alive,” is unlikely to return Emily Haines & co. to the same ubiquity they once enjoyed: the song is too dour to appeal to a mass audience, with lyrics that make Haines sound like she’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown the entire time (which, according to interviews, she was). It’s like an electrified version of Haines’s 2006 solo album Knives Don’t Have Your Back, an impression that’s confirmed by the acoustic version of the song, which is available as a free download from Metric’s MySpace.

The video looks like it was spliced together with minimal input from the band, editing together concert footage with random b-roll footage and disorienting computer-generated effects. Still, it’s weirdly compelling in a retro sort of way: some of the footage looks like it was culled from old black and white movies, while the simplistic effects appear stuck in the 1980s. The video bombards viewers with images of pulsing hearts as the song repeats its refrain, “My heart keeps beating like a hammer.” It’s a bit too literal, but it doesn’t a good job of recreating the song’s panic-attack inducing claustrophobia.

Check out the video here, courtesy of Stereogum.

“Help, I’m Alive” is available on the album Fantasies, which is out now via Last Gang.
 
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