ALBUM REVIEW: Synthetica by Metric

Toronto-based electro-rock group Metric’s 5th album, Synthetica, released on June 12, 2012 in the U.S. and Canada, came as a much needed methodical escape after over three years since their last album, Fantasies. Metric teased with the single released in early May, “Youth Without Youth,” giving fans and the B-Sides staff something to impatiently look forward to.

Succinct beats paired with the dismal lyrics we’ve come to expect with Metric, offer an introspective glimpse into frontwoman Emily Haines’ dark outlook on life and society. Despite the gloom, it’s an easy album to enjoy, filled with Metric’s hard rhythm, steady hooks and candy-like pop.

“Breathing Underwater” and the album’s namesake, “Synthetica,” stood out as two ballads we can get behind and sing along to – nice additions to a summer release.

Haines takes a detour from her traditional sound with, “Lost Kitten,” a short, peppy number that will perk up even the calmest Metric fans. But as with most upbeat tunes from talented songwriters, the message behind the song is dark and haunting, leaving listeners in an unbalanced emotional state. While most of the album is mechanical and continuous, an unexpected pause comes with, “The Wanderlust,” incorporating Haines’ sweet voice and contrasting it with Lou Reed’s rougher, old-school vibe bringing us nostalgically back to the 1960s.

Listening to the album from start to finish, you’ll end with “Nothing But Time” – a lighter, happier take on the gray view that Metric regales us with throughout. The phrase, “I’ve got nothing but time, so the future is mine,” shines a bit of optimism at the end of a dark path.

Read “A Note From Emily,” before you dive into the record – she describes the Synthetica experience as “forcing yourself to confront what you see in the mirror when you finally stand still long enough to catch a reflection.” Go forth, find your reflection and listen to Synthetica.

Check out “Breathing Underwater”:

Listen to the title track to Synthetica: