Label: 02. Records
Released on: April 14th, 2009
Reviewed by: Wilson Standish
Metric just dropped their fourth album, Fantasies, after taking a four-year hiatus to reflect and experience life and not simply write about being a band on tour—even though the two best songs on Fantasies are about concerts. This April release has an electro-rock sound that will sit well with 90’s grunge lovers and Gossip Girl experts, but its poppy undertones make it a guilty pleasure at times.
Metric was formed in 1998 by Emily Haines and (vocals and keyboard) and James Shaw (guitarist), who later picked up Joules Scott-Key (drummer) and Joshua Winstead (bassist). In 2005 Metric established themselves as a fixture of the alt-club circuit with ‘Monster Hospital’ and ‘Poster Of A Girl.’ In both songs Haines is singing as if she just wrote the song and can’t wait to share it with the world, an element that is lost in their fourth album.
Fantasies sacrifices some of Metric’s energy for precision and overly perfected vocals. Part of ‘Monster Hospital’s’ appeal is that it had energy and intensity. But then there are songs like ‘Stadium Love’—clearly showing their aspirations for the album with this song title—and ‘Front Row’ that are great, but because they are so formulaic I’m embarrassed to like them, yet I DO.
The downplayed synth and rising and falling of guitar intensity, makes Fantasies more reminiscent of a 90’s alt rock band than their current category as electronic.
Maybe it was Metric being featured on too many tween drama shows, but it feels that they’ve gone soft, or maybe they know selling out is really buying in. Despite how poppy and mainstream the album as a whole feels, there are some great songs, ones I’m sure will be on heavy rotation this summer.