Metric has built a name for themselves with their distinct attitude and Emily Haines‘s iconic voice. They’ve always stayed true to themselves, and with their fifth album, it’s no different. There is a surprising and refreshing uniqueness to Synthetica, which is reassuring to Metric fans both old and new. Emily Haines said that it’s “about forcing yourself to confront what you see in the mirror when you finally stand still long enough to catch a reflection. Synthetica is about being able to identify the original in a long line of reproductions. It’s about what is real vs what is artificial.”
What’s interesting about Synthetica, is that it almost sounds like it could be one of their first albums. It carries the exact essence of a confused and angsty person in their twenties. The opening song, “Artificial Nocturne” definitely sets the mood for the rest of the album. It starts out with just quiet, subtle synth and vocals, but continues to build from there. It’s the opening line that shocks you with it’s unexpected honesty, as Emily Haines defiantly sings, “I’m just as f-cked up as they say.” This is some surprising, yet welcome vulnerability coming from Metric.
The album’s single “Youth Without Youth” is the only one of it’s kind, and sounds very much like a byproduct of touring with Muse a couple of years ago. With it’s heavy beat and anthem-like sound, it’s a great song to blast this summer. “Lost Kitten” is a standout track with a cute and catchy rhythm. Haines’s voice sounds almost mocking but cute, in a higher pitched, girlier tone, as she sings bitter lines like “When you lie, I cover it up.” What is strange and unexpected, is Lou Reed‘s quick appearance in “The Wanderlust”. Already a somewhat mediocre track, Lou Reed’s voice does not fit in any way, causing it to be a flop. In spite of that, I love the way they end this album. In “Nothing But Time” their parting words, “I wanted to be part of something, I’ve got nothing but time, so the world is mine” leave you feeling like you may finally be understanding Emily Haines, even if just a teeny tiny bit.
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While Metric is known for having songs full of catchy hooks and charming synth-pop, Synthetica is a much more solid sounding album. The combination of their continued musical growth and newfound lyrical vulnerability draws you in with each song. Metric has also teamed up again with award-winning film composer Howard Shore, who they previously worked with on the Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack. This summer, they will be appearing on the Cosmopolis soundtrack, which will be released in the US on July 10th, 2012.