Album Review: Metric - Synthetica

11 June 2012 | 2:00 pm | Helen Lear

Metric do this style of music so well it’s a hard to understand why the try to play so many different styles at once.

Metric has always been a band that pushes the boundaries, starting their own independent label, and being the first band in musical history to enter the top 20 charts with a single that wasn't backed by a mainstream label. Their fifth studio album, Synthetica, was started the day after the band finished touring previous output Fantasies at the end of 2010, and it's a mixture of all things from indie to pop and electronica, causing a bit of confusion as to what their signature style really is.

First track Artificial Nocturne builds slowly yet powerfully as singer Emily Haines' serene voice sings “I'm just as fucked up as they say” over edgy synths before the drums kick in. What sounds like synths however are in fact a 1960's organ played through a homemade pedal, which is also used in tracks Dreams So Real and Nothing But Time to great effect.

Youth Without Youth, the first single to be released from the album, and following track Speed The Collapse pick up the pace moving into more traditional anthemic indie and taking cues from Placebo and Muse, reflecting on the well-trodden topic of the fraying social state of the world.

Moving into a more pop-led style, Breathing Underwater brings memories of U2's With Or Without You, and in another swift side step Haines' voice moves from steady alto to frail, girlie falsetto accompanied by tinkling glockenspiel in Lost Kitten, which sounds like it could be coming from another band altogether.

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The title track is the strongest on the album and displays what the band does best – solid indie rock. Metric do this style of music so well it's a hard to understand why the try to play so many different styles at once.