Album after album, and ten years re-inventing indie rock, Emily Haines’ Metric proves they have not yet hit their expiration date. Synthetica (now available on iTunes) returns as the 5th album on their long repertoire of sexy, synth songs. It has forgotten the past and moved into what the front woman told SPIN she calls a “natural state.”
Also saying, “And here we are, a band that had been together 10 years, and it feels like we’re making our first record.” The Canadians, including vocals and keyboardist, Haines, co-writer and guitarist Jimmy Shaw, bassist Josh Winstead, and drummer Joules Scott-Key seem to be aiming to please only themselves with this EP, and that can unintentionally be a people pleaser.
Becoming known veterans in a genre packed with newcomers, the foursome is now able to put forth efforts based only on their creative disposition, and less on industry needs. Synthetic is their outlet to be themselves again starting out with the unapologetic lyrics, “I’m just as fucked up as they say.”
The intro track, “Artificial Nocturne,” starts the album off in a slow, dark and dreamy state. ‘Dark’ is not an unfamiliar adjective to be attached to Metric’s work, with former hits like “Monster Hospital,” a testimony of mental illness; “Blow Up, and Grow Away” with themes of double-crossing hearts; “Help I’m Alive,” a tale of an overactive heart; and “Combat Baby”–about the pleasures of pain, and all time lows. These songs may all have serious-as-heart-attack topics, but they also hold another seemingly paradoxical common denominator: They make you want to dance to heart-broken beats in the darkness.
Standing out on Synthetic are “Youth Without Youth,” “Lost Kitten,” “The Void,” and “The Wanderlust,” which features Lou Reed. As always, Haines–also the revisiting guest vocalist for the venerable Broken Social Scene–charms us with her aching, yet sultry voice. The journey to self-discovery has been long, but together the group has remained true to the originality that sets them apart. It is what makes them “the original in a long line of reproductions.”