by Kegan Warner
June 21, 2012
Emily Haines is back with fellow producer and guitarist James Shaw for Metric's fifth full-length release, Synthetica. Available June 12th, Synthetica is an impressive arrangement of generously melodic songs, embracing a larger electronic orchestral framework than their previous release, Fantasies.
Metric's departure from Haines’ more refined new wave structure has allowed Synthetica to feel like more of an album, and less like a collection of remix-able singles. There is no one stand-out single, rather the album transitions seamlessly from structured post-punk to dreamy electronic, to the more symphonic, all while Haines explores a fine line between "the real and the synthetic."
The first single, "Youth Without Youth,” came just after the release of Metric's contribution to the latest Twilight movie, Eclipse's soundtrack. Highlighted as the theme of the movie, "All Yours" kept the audience in suspense while Bella made the decision that every Twilight fan must make, Vampire or Werewolf? Aside from the cheesy lyrics and music video, you can really hear Metric's evolution to a larger sound. It could also explain why Haines doubles back to a more self-doubting theme, "What is real?" *Insert longing distant stare and lip bite*
"Speed The Collapse's" opening guitar riff is very reminiscent of Arcade Fire's single “No Cars Go” on their 2007 release Neon Bible, a theme that is fairly consistent throughout Synthetica. The album is highlighted with a few more stylish tracks. "The Void" is more mechanical, carrying heavier synth beats of the likes of Goldfrapp, filling in some needed structure. As a bonus, Hanies brings on the great Lou Reed in "The Wanderlust," for a brief yet subtle collaboration.
Metric gets back to their roots just as Haines reaches the center of her introspective debate. In the chorus of the title track Synthetica Haines belts "Hey I'm not Synthetica, I can think for myself." And yet, though fans of Metric won't be disappointed with this enjoyable release, it's far from original.