It has been extremely difficult not to fall in love with Metric; the band has consistently put out enjoyable pop tunes throughout their evolution as a band. Their fourth album, Fantasies, is just another progressive step in whatever direction the band chooses to go. Yes, maybe it’s not the same band that you couldn’t get enough of on Old World Underground, but this album is stocked full of fantastic singles and even more ridiculously good moments than ever before.
The world caught wind of “Help, I’m Alive” a few months back, and the album couldn’t have a better opener than this. As the synthesizer and drums push the song forward, you are on the edge of the seat waiting for the song to crash down, but as always, the band remains coy, pulling back with just enough restraint to play innocent; that is until Emily hits the high notes, and warms your ears. “Sick Muse” follows immediately keeping the fast pace. It’s a lot more straightforward than previous songs in the Metric canon, but the chorus is where the band seems to excel this time around. In fact, the choruses throughout the album are one of the elements that differentiates this album from the past.
You’ll also find some moments on this album that seem like they were skeletons left in Emily Haines’ closet as she wrapped up her solo work to work on this album. “Twilight Galaxy” is just such a song, as it rests on “oohs” and what sounds like a programmed drum track. While one could complain about such a moment being on this record, it shows just how far Haines has come since her inception as rock-goddess extraordinaire. “Gimme Sympathy” is a similar song, though it’s fleshed out a bit more by the presence of the rest of the band. All in all, it’s a twist we hadn’t seen yet, and it’s one that works well for the band.
Unfortunately, a lot of the angular guitar work is gone from this album, or at least it has hidden itself behind the hills of electronic presence. On one hand, this makes this album ready for those who wish to take it to the dance floor, as the synths will definitely blast out of speakers around the world, but it also makes the album comes across as a lot more polished than before. The ferocity of the group here is subdued; Emily now is more than just the pretty face of the band. She seems to be the leader in every sense here, and for some, that might be a little disheartening.
Suffice it to say that most of those fans who fell in love with the band will still be happy with the most recent output, as there are gems all over this record. Who knows where the next step will lead the band, but as long as they can continuously pump out pop music this good, they are sure to have followers for years to come.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/06-gimme-sympathy.mp3]