One of the benefits of being a music reviewer is that you're open to listening to all different styles of music and you get introduced to new groups that open up a whole new world. Apparently, I missed the boat when it comes to Metric. I always listen to the tracks before I read about the band, so that I'm not caught up on a pretty face or wrapped up in the majesty and heartache of the uphill battle to fame. I want to hear musicianship and structure. Artistry and risk. Balance and balls!
I could tell that the band was seasoned and well produced from the get go. It was refreshing to lose myself in the first track of Synthetica. It's safe to say that first impressions are solid foundation makers when it comes to music. So, let's begin the dissection of Metric: Synthetica.
Track One: (Artificial Nocturne) It builds like a Muse tune that has been straitened out for radio. Although, a clever use of the “F” bomb and elongated synth intro shatters that notion. Its not till midway through do we begin to tap our feet to a Go Go-esk punk beat from the 80's that’s blended so well with modern sound that it makes you want to get up and dance like Molly Ringwald. It registers as a classic album opener and leaves you ready to hear track two.
Track Two: (Youth Without Youth) I will admit that right off the bat I am reminded of the 90's powerhouse Garbage on this one. Its cleverly aggressive and delicate at the same time. I can definitely assume that Shirley Manson is an influence on the writing and performing of this tune. Overall, I can approve of this tune being added to the long trip road mix.
Track Three: (Speed the Collapse) I choose this one! Mark my words, this is the one to bank on in being the most successful single. If not, it's because it was buried in paperwork or hidden in someones trunk. This song is pure magic and would be the one song from this album that will stick with me.
Track Four: (Breathing Underwater) I love the pulse of this tune --sugary and sweet. Radio ready for sure.
Track Five: (Dreams So Real) I have been waiting for the ominous tones to kick back in and this one gives me that. Although, I am noticing a huge trend as I make it through each track. LONG intros! Admittedly I sped through this lyrically repetitive gem. It didn’t challenge my ears as much as I would like.
Track Six:(Lost Kitten) Back to the sugar and spice! Nice infectious little beat but it seems that it lacks a little bit of musical breathing. It slides through without much build but it still has a great presence and can make a home in a “happy mix” on your ipod.
Track Seven: (The Void) I thought Will. I. Am. was gonna pop out and start free styling on this tune. It almost lost me, honestly, but the beat kicked up a little and I enjoyed what I was hearing.
Track Eight: (Synthetica) Now you're talking! That’s what a title track needs to sound like. It rushes to the point and drives it home. The acoustic guitar breakdown with layered harmony was the deal sealer. This one is a keeper.
Track Nine: (Clone) This was like Barenaked Ladies with a chick singer. A good song, butit seems to be geared more towards radio play again. I expected to hear Ed Robertson sing about chimps on postcards.
Track Ten: (The Wanderlust) I don’t know how this happened but they channeled Simple Minds and captured my heart. It's a great album closer.
Overall, its not a bad album. I heard several influences peeking through, ranging from pop to punk-alternative with sprinkles of some of the best modes and pacing of the 80's. I would keep 5 out of 10 of these songs in my music rotation, but it would've been nice to hear more grit and heavy spots in some of the songs. It felt as if the builds lead you back to the beginning, instead of a big musical explosion. It teased in a few areas to become aggressive and then straightened back into a cotton candy mesh of sugar and color. It's good music -- great musicianship and even better production. I would buy it and rotate it through, and attach it to moody days and long drives.