Posted on April 15th, 2009 (3:16 pm) by Katherine Parks

Without a doubt, Metric is a very unique band. Why? Well, other than their singer and guitarist both having worked with Broken Social Scene, Metric has already released three quality albums, while simultaneously maintaining the status of an under-the radar Canadian electro-indie outfit. Don’t be fooled by the former label though: Metric brings a strikingly sweet flavor to the table, and Fantasies will have you at their mercy before you can think twice.

Fantasies opens with the synth-happy, and sometimes tribal-sounding “Help, I’m Alive”. The babyish, adorable vocals of Emily Haines, the multi-talented female force behind Metric, are evident throughout as one of the most important factors behind Metric’s sound.,. With an upbringing contained within a rich, artistic atmosphere, Haines developed and honed her abilities as a musician, and her efforts have paid off (as you can hear throughout Fantasies). On “Help, I’m Alive”, Haines and her cohorts present an almost strict, restrained sound; with drummer Joules Scott-Key’s robotic rhythm, it’s hard to skip past this track. When paired with James Shaw’s edgy, perky guitar styling, something entirely new is born. Without a doubt, Metric is about to forge a new path for indie music.

Robert Smith would certainly think Metric borrowed his (and The Cure’s) sound if he listened to “Sick Muse”. Drenched with a truly unparalleled, moody energy and steeped in synth, with catchy lyrics and an amphitheatre-ish type of echo, Metric could give The Cure a run for its money with the second track on Fantasies. With lyrics like “pull your little arrows out and let me live my life/ the one I thought I needed”, you can’t help but wonder what’s in the water that Haines and her band mates are drinking.

“Gold Guns Girls” might be jostled and tossed about before anybody really gives this track due credit. It’s very fast-paced and gutsy—best to take it along for a night drive or even a night on the town. In its own right, the cut is surprisingly versatile. Shaw’s talented guitar abilities, Scott-Key’s skills as a drummer, and bassist Josh Winstead’s (surprisingly) noticeable riffs mesh together masterfully to create something mouth-watering. Oh, and as for Emily’s vocals? You’ll literally be floored.

“Twilight Galaxy”, just by the title alone, sounded slightly immature to me. However, one listen to the song threw those notions out the proverbial window. Oddly enough, the opening lyrics have Haines questioning childhood and the need for human affection. Sounds like pretty mature content, doesn’t it? It’s a roller coaster that delves to and explores the depths of emotional instability, while presenting the subject matter in a surprisingly appealing way. Against the backdrop of what sound like a beating heart, a whining Doors-esque keyboard/synth style and an organ-like tone, “Twilight Galaxy” manages to intrigue.

“Who would you rather be: The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?” Okay. You have my undivided attention, Emily Haines. A nod to two great rock bands in the first minute of “Gimme Sympathy”, and my curiosity has been sparked. This track is really exciting; it has the techno air of The Bravery, blended together with the styles of Modest Mouse and a small sprinkling of Jet. Undoubtedly, Emily Haine’s sweet vocals, Shaw’s inviting, cute sound, and the backbone support system comprised of Scott-Key and Winstead will have you bopping along and singing to the danceable vibe of “Gimme Sympathy”. By the time it’s over, the only thing Metric will have is your attention.

By far, “Satellite Mind” is my absolute favorite track on Fantasies. I don’t know if it’s the dark, brooding Depeche Mode vibe that Metric emits or if it’s just the intoxicating sound, overall, that catches my ear, but there’s something definitely very cool and unexpected about this band. With lyrics like, “I drift into a deep fog/ Lost where I forgot to hold out/ I can feel you most when I’m alone”, you can’t help but wonder if Dave Gahan is behind this track. But, Haines and her fellow Metric members are creative enough to bring forth their own kind of brooding, on their own terms.

On the second half of Fantasies, expect a real treat. “Collect Call” is unprecedented, and almost disturbingly sweet. Haines’s vocals are decadent, to say the least, as are the harp-sounding guitar melodies, bubbly synth, stable bass, and a swishing of drums. I think the only think I could compare “Collect Call” to, musically, is “Eyes on Fire” by Blue Foundation, but with that recurring, irreplaceable Goldfrapp twinge.

“Front Row” is daring and almost futuristic, with a very grunge sound to it. Sounds kind of like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Perhaps. But, don’t let the word “grunge” to make you dismiss this track. It really brings up the second half of Fantasies, so look forward to tying the full-length together with this essential portion.

At first, “Blindness” actually scared me. Why? Well, I think it was hearing Haines’s lower vocal register that caught me off guard. On the rest of Fantasies, the fair-haired woman sang (seemingly) nothing in a range that was not toward the upper end of the grand scale. Don’t get me wrong, Haines has true talent, as “Blindness” bears testament to that. With their eclectic style and a fantastic sound, noting the contributions of the remaining members, Metric is set to blow indie rock, as we currently know it, out of the water. And I haven’t even mentioned the presumable reaction of the electronic rock genre.

“Stadium Love” is the last track on Fantasies, and it’s definitely an upbeat way to conclude the fourth chapter in Metric’s discography. Get ready: you’ll know the words to this energetic tune before it even ends!

With the indubitable Fantasies, Metric.once again proves why it is one of the best indie rock bands out there. Besides being an original record in its own right, Fantasies harkens back to the 80s with its sheer poppy style. No more will The Cure, Depeche Mode, and The Smiths (mostly) have to suffer in obscurity. That said, this album is certainly not a rehash of styles from days past; Metric has taken what it does best, and supplanted it with a little bit of the classics. Don’t be surprised when you see Fantasies making top 10 lists at the end of the year.

Track List

1. Help, I’m Alive
2. Sick Muse
3. Satellite Mind
4. Twilight Galaxy
5. Gold Guns Girls
6. Gimme Sympathy
7. Collect Call
8. Front Low
9. Blindness
10. Stadium Love

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