Metric – Fantasies

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews


Fantasies - Last Gang Records

It’s been said before but it’s true, first impressions count a lot. Six years ago, Metric were opening for Billy Talent and four or five days before they played in Edmonton they played Toronto. I had never heard of Metric before and read a review of their Toronto show which stated that lead singer Emily Haines stormed off the stage for fifteen minutes after someone in the crowd yelled out “you suck.” I wrote them off right then and in the six years since, despite having seen them live a total of four times, my opinion has never changed of them. I always found them somewhat bland live (once I even left early) and while there was the occasional single that struck a chord, in general Metric were not my cup of tea.

And then I heard Gimme Sympathy.

The second single from the band’s newest album (and first in four years) stopped me dead in my tracks the first time I heard it on MuchMusic. The song is beautiful, catchy, invigorating and ingenious all the while being simply constructed and I had it on repeat for days. It was the classic Metric sound but something more. With rolling hit hats threaded throughout, Emily Haines signature vocals, synths and more – it was a great new wave indie song. What makes Gimme Sympathy stand out in the crowd is the way everything works together, and the way it all wraps around the simple but inspiring and thought provoking chorus of: After all this is gone, who would you rather be, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Oh Seriously, you’re gonna make mistakes, you’re young. Come on baby play me something like Here Comes The Sun. The way Haines delivers those lines make the song stand up and soar and if the rest of Fantasies was remotely similar to it than my headstrong opinion of Metric would finally be forced to change.

In reality though, Fantasies falls somewhere in between meaning that it’s not as good as I had hoped but not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be either.

Scattered throughout the album are songs that aren’t nearly as good as Gimme Sympathy but that are good in their own rights. They are upbeat electro rock melodies, with slightly distorted guitars, tons of syths melodies and Haines’ passionate vocals delicately placed overtop. The record starts off with the lead single, Help I’m Alive. Featuring an upbeat edge to it, the song has a sense of rhythm brought forward by Joules Scott-Key’s drumming. The song alternates between tempos and tones given it the sense of multiple songs all the while keeping it fresh. They follow that with Sick Muse, a track that takes a few listens before it sinks it, but a track that eventually gave the album some chance of it being as good as I had hoped.

Where the band goes wrong is when they strip down the tempo and go for a more reserved, almost ballad like sound. Tracks like the abysmally boring Twilight Galaxy only help to cement by previously acknowledged hatred for the band. Close to five minutes in length, Twilight Galaxy feels bland and long without any hook or catch. Some of the previous tracks may have dragged during certain moments but they were all saved by an hook that re-captivates your attention. Twilight Galaxy lacks that and so do tracks like Blindness and Gold Gun Girls.

With so many tracks lacking a hook, Fantasies often falls into the background. Occasional flourishes break through, but never enough to fully save the album. It features a few decent synth-heavy new wave indie tunes – and Gimme Sympathy is absolutely fantastic – but they’ve yet to turn me into a fan.