Metric
Synthetica


3.5
great

Review

by Pistol Pete USER (32 Reviews)
June 5th, 2012 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An adventurous blend of old and new from Metric that overcomes a slight bit of inconsistency to sit comfortably alongside their discography.

Metric has truly shown itself to be Canada’s sweetheart over the past decade. The band plays such a wide variety of genres that one would be hard-pressed not to find at least something they enjoy from them. There was the dance punk release Old World Underground where Metric took the rawness of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and added a pop/electronic spin on it. Live It Out saw the band take on a heavier alternative rock persona whilst not forgetting to include a few softer pop tracks. But diversity often breeds inconsistency, and while these albums were certainly not weak, there was something missing that was preventing the band from truly leaving its mark.

With Fantasies came a welcome change of pace. Here we saw lead singer Emily Haines shed the frustration and negativity she often sang with and, for the first time, expose a slight vulnerability to her character. Instead of the confrontational, controversial attitude of Old World Underground and Live It Out, we saw her open up about love and romance. It gave off this serene vibe that felt almost like getting to know her personally; and this tenderness led to what was arguably Metric’s most consistent effort to date. While the sounds of the album may have varied from the brooding electronics of “Twilight Galaxy” to the heavier guitar-driven “Sick Muse”, the lyrics and tone never deviated from this serenity and finally an entire album stuck with listeners as opposed to a select few tracks. Don’t believe me? Take a look at how many singles were released along Fantasies’ lifespan compared to the older albums; six of ten tracks, the most singles the band has ever churned out for an album to date. Even non-singles were a pleasant listen and fans as well as some newcomers simply ate it up.

Synthetica sees Metric take a step back and return to their activist roots. It’s not exactly a full-fledged return to their signature political focus, there are quite a few more sensitive tracks here reminiscent of Fantasies. What does return is this boldness and intensity Metric used to have. Right from the get-go, Haine’s kicks off the album with the line “I'm just as ***ed up as they say, I can't fake the daytime. I found an entrance to escape into the dark.” Here, it’s focused towards the younger population; discussing the hardships they go through discovering who they are and being okay with that. The album positions itself somewhere between the Metric seen on Fantasies and older Metric.

The band’s diverse nature has also certainly not taken a back seat. Listeners are once again greeted with a wide variety of tracks, from the rocking single “Youth Without Youth” to the softer pop track “Clone”. “Dreams So Real” begins with a heavy synth beat that progresses into a beautiful mix of quivering guitars and subtle drums over Haine’s thought-provoking lyrics “The scream becomes a yawn. I’ll shut up and carry on.” It’s at the same time something exciting we have not heard from them, yet undoubtedly Metric.

The one thing that holds this album down from being something truly memorable is that this strategy once again yields inconsistent results. Unfortunately, there are also attempts at experimentation that fall flat, such as the questionable pairing of Metric and Lou Reed on “Wanderlust”, a track that awkwardly blends two voices that simply do not complement each other. On “Lost Kitten”, Haines delivers a whiny high-pitched tone with sassy lyrics like “Don't say yes if you can't say no. Victim of the system, say it isn't so”. It’s an annoying song the likes of which we haven’t heard since “Handshakes” on Live It Out.

Luckily for Metric, the success of Synthetica is due to a simple matter of having more hits than misses. It’s a gutsy attempt to fuse what pleased both old and new fans at the same time, so it’s no surprise to see a bit of inconsistency. At first it’s a bit hard to find a track here that will join the ranks of their earlier hits (ie. “Dead Disco” or “Monster Hospital”). The trick is that the gems are not the more energetic and spirited tracks, but once again, the tracks that show the softer, sensitive side of Metric. What might hurt the band’s commercial success is that these songs are often growers and not for impatient listeners expecting to be wowed on the first listen. Nonetheless, it’s a side of the band I hope they continue to explore into the future.

Recommended: Speed The Collapse, Breathing Underwater, Dreams So Real, Clone



Recent reviews by this author
The Mire Glass CathedralsChevelle This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In)
Obscure Sphinx Void MotherJolly The Audio Guide to Happiness (Part 1)
Chevelle La GargolaLeprous Bilateral
user ratings (147)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Townsendium (2)
U mad Emily Haines?...

Dotmats (1.5)
Just a mess....


Comments:Add a Comment 
PistolPete
June 5th 2012


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Stream: http://pitchfork.com/news/46744-stream-metrics-new-lp-synthetica/

Very enjoyable, but it took a bit of time for me to like this.

Digging: Skyharbor - Guiding Lights

bloc
June 5th 2012


34992 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Didn't like the first track at all, but the rest is decent. Rating might go down in time though.

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Superstition

PistolPete
June 5th 2012


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

See my rating went from a 2.5 to 3.5. Really weird, I actually thought I had this album figured out after a good four run-throughs. But apparently that wasn't enough. Yeah, first track was weaksauce, but it blended into the single well and the album took off after that.

bloc
June 5th 2012


34992 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I was going to give the album a 2.5 as well, but suddenly it just sounded a lot better than that. I might be jumping the gun by saying the rating will go down; this album definitely needs a few more listens.

PistolPete
June 5th 2012


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First half is better than the last half. "Dreams So Real" gets more and more epic as I listen to it. And "Clone" is quite possibly the sweetest thing I've ever heard from them =P

@bloc: what's your favorite album from these guys?

bloc
June 5th 2012


34992 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

That's tough to answer in the sense that this band has always been one of those where I like a few tracks from each album but nothing more than that...

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2012


10543 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

really good review

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

PistolPete
June 5th 2012


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks! It took a while to write cuz I couldn't pin down what I thought about it at first. But eventually the right words came out. I was also paranoid as shit that I would make a grammatical error and not be able to edit after so i read it over a lot, hopefully enough lol

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"That's tough to answer in the sense that this band has always been one of those where I like a few tracks from each album but nothing more than that..."

Couldn't have said it better myself bloc. Their best is exceptional. Their worst is boring. As soon as I saw the word "inconsistency" in the summary, I thought "surprise, surprise".

PistolPete
June 5th 2012


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Despite that though, this album was surprisingly more consistent than their first two releases. It's just definitely something they've always suffered from. Oddly enough, I could say the same thing for the Yeah yeah yeahs.

jeremologyy
June 5th 2012


270 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eh, actually, Old World Underground sticks with me a lot more consistently than Fantasies. the latter is so repetitive and the songwriting suffered, i think. otherwise good review. i like this album a lot.

PistolPete
June 5th 2012


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's interesting to hear of someone who wasn't a fan of Fantasies but likes this. The mistake I may have made in writing this is that it comes off a bit as "If you didn't like Fantasies, you will only half-like this". Not necessarily true. OWU is a great debut with some truly great songs, just IMO not their best.

Dashnavar
June 7th 2012


64 Comments


every metric single has killed me with excitement, but then i get to the album, and i never like more than 3 or 4 songs. i need to stop giving them the benefit of the doubt. haha

Dolving999
June 8th 2012


1647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's kinda bad when the first song isn't that good. But then again, I managed to spot some highlights.

Funny, I didn't know almost everyone felt the same way as me about Metric, only listening to a few select tracks on every release, whodathunk? Anyway, I still think "Grow Up and Blow Away" is their best, and that's quite a feat considering it was one of their first albums to be recorded.

PistolPete
June 8th 2012


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah good openers are one of those little tiny things that make an album really special and if it's not there, kinda holds the album down.

I actually really didn't like "Grow Up and Blow Away". Wasn't much that jumped out at me.

TheGardener
June 11th 2012


150 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Still not entirely sure how I feel about this album, it keeps floating between a 3.5 and 4 for me. Nice review!

zacxriot
June 11th 2012


9 Comments


Great review, interesting take on the album for sure. I really appreciated their attempt to please their older fans and I feel they succeeded.

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2012


10543 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

honestly this isn't that half-bad

PistolPete
June 12th 2012


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's a perfectly satisfying release for a 3-year wait following up what I thought was their best album to date. It's a hard thing to follow up a solid album like that so I give them kudos.

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2012


10543 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

strangely lost kitten is one of my favorite songs...



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy