CD Review of Fantasies by Metric
Metric: Fantasies
Recommended if you like
Broken Social Scene, Breeders, Feist
Label
02. Records
Metric: Fantasies

Reviewed by Mojo Flucke, PhD

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F
or the folks who don't kill time at work surfing the rock blogs and aren't hip to the hottest underground rock (you are normal – thank you for putting in actual work and doing your part to help prop up what's left of the economy, we need you in the worst way) Metric is a group that's been around for 11 years. Fantasies is the group's fourth album, and it's the one that will propel Metric into the indie rock New Pornographers/Death Cab For Cutie stratosphere the band deserves to be in, no doubt. Led by Emily Haines – part of the Broken Social Scene clique that spawned Feist of the "1-2-3-4" iPod ad and Sesame Street video – the group does ethereal pop a la Wilco, except with a much harder edge. In fact, Haines – whose beguiling, beautiful voice will suck you in, if your ear can appreciate true musical talent in whatever form – plays the anti-Kim Deal: Where Deal puts out half-rehearsed, slacker rock and gets praised, Metric ploughs the same melodic and lyrically cynical furrows, except with precision (ever really listen to the Breeders' "Saints"? What a ripoff. Sounds like a first take/demo track – who cares – we were duped! Metric is what the Breeders coulda been).

Metric

Haines – born in India and maintaining dual citizenship in the U.S. and Canada – lacks the warm-fuzzy Ohio-girl appeal of Deal, which, by the way, is overrated when you're releasing half-baked records with your sister, living on the fumes of the Pixies. Haines seems much more in touch with the world of 2009, a post-Bush planet where it's taken for granted we've crushed the environment, made a mess of things politically, and in general possess a cynicism unseen since before Prozac hit the market. "I heard you fuck through the walls, and I sent vibrations in your direction, through my satellite mind," she sings in "Satellite Mind." Is she human? Borg? An ex-girlfriend? Annoyed neighbor? A possible conquest if us boys would just turn our heads and be a little less ignorant of our surroundings? How beautiful, this mystery. The music itself is very machine-made, electronic pop inspired by electric rock like the Pixies, but mixed down in a densely similar way to groups like Gomez, Radiohead, and shoegazers going back to Lush and Ultra Vivid Scene. Synths abound, but for purposes of raising the ambient noise level, not showing off a la Depeche. Great stuff, well mixed.

While most of the moments are deliciously down or mid-tempo on Fantasies, a couple upbeat moments are worthy of mention: "Gold Guns Girls" is a very nice cut, if only for Haines' sultry singing, which is sexy – from afar. She throws this "You don't have a chance, boy, but I know you'd love to at some point" vibe that makes you curiously engaged. "Gimme Sympathy" follows, with a sweet pop chorus that is a paean to the pop legacy of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The more you are a fan of both groups, the more you will appreciate this cut, which comes closest to quantifying the beyond-words, visceral reaction we all have to the pop majesty of those two very different English groups, past the lyrics, melody and energy – a seemingly unquantifiable prospect for us mere mortal music writers who only have words to work with. Metric has words, music, rhythm and vocal expression, all of which the band uses to great effect. It's just not fair.

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