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Metric Fantasies Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

Canadian indie band's fourth sees them heading for pop territory

Lou Thomas 2009

It doesn't bode well for Canadian indie troupe Metric when their fourth album opens with Help I'm Alive.

There's nothing wrong with the sure pacing, likeable crescendos, big Simple Minds drum sounds or overall tone, which appears to have been closely based on Australian dance-rock favourites Cut Copy.

But surprisingly the track is let down by the estimably talented Emily Haines. Back on Metric duty after occasional Broken Social Scene and her own The Soft Skeleton work she repeats the rather trite phrase, ''My heart keeps beating like a hammer,'' ad nauseum. It swiftly irritates.

Satellite Mind is the moment Fantasies really gets moving. Haines' vocal is now needy, angry, cold and free all at once. ''I'm not suicidal/I just can't get out of bed,'' one of many terrific lines that tie in superbly with tight, minimally scuffed guitars and drums. It's one part Hole to two parts The Go-Gos and deserves a high chart placing should the band release it as a single.

Gold Guns and Girls is another simple but effective winner. Terrific new wave momentum, great, layered lyrics – like, ''All the toys and the tools in the box/couldn't get you off.''

Gimme Sympathy takes a dive into unexpectedly pompous rock territory with a collection of synth riffs and vocal melodies that would be rejected by The Killers for being too overblown.

Elsewhere, moments like the Roxette via Avril Lavigne bluster of Stadium Love suggest Metric genuinely want to drop the indie moodiness in favour of true pop-rock stardom.

Fantasies isn't quite brilliant enough to be adored despite its occasional excellence. What happens next depends whether Metric can or want to stomach the journey from respect to fame by writing consistently commercial songs.

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