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The Canadian quartet Metric have been keeping their solid fan base antsy with the three year wait since their well received release of Fantasies in 2009. Lucky for fans, Synthetica still sports the sonic pop swirl that they loved in the past.
Metric has never been a band to be ultra flashy and flamboyant – their music is enough to get people enthusiastic – but the band has grown to work more subtly. One of the most refreshing aspects of the band’s work is that everything is laid out for you; there is nothing too complicated instrumentally, but it feels right. A solid beat, a guitar rhythm, and hard-hitting vocals compile for a sound that makes sense. Synthetica explores this concept further with songs like “Dreams So Real” where a synth line rings throughout the song as the occasional bursts of light guitar alternates with the vocals. Metric has definitely mastered the talent of giving so much with so little.
One of the largest components of the minimalist style is the bold vocals. Vocalist Emily Haines holds herself so cool and composed. She stands with some well-deserved respect being a member of Broken Social Scene, Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton, and Metric. She is much like a superwoman in the music world, but she harbors some relatable insecurities. Lines like “When you lie, I’ll cover it up. When you hide, I’ll cover it up.” within “Lost Kitten” reinforce the strong power we see her as, but then she offers “So pent up, I was coming home to you. Happy in the nighttime, howlin’ at the moon.” There is something special about the way that she can use sharp collected style with such human words.
Earlier tracks on the album break us into this more human side of the band. The opener, “Artificial Nocturne”, is an acknowledgement of how certain things can just not be faked. Synthetica takes on a whole exploration of what is real versus what is fake that naturally turns into these vulnerable confessions. When someone takes the time to dig into the unrealistic sides of life, they cannot help but consider what they have tried to artificially cover up within their own situations.
The fortunate part of this album is that it’s real. As all of this discussion of what is truly real continues within the album, listeners can just rejoice in the genuine creativity that is released in its product. From the collected “Artificial Nocturne” to the revolving guitar riff of “Synthetica”, Metric keeps it real.