[sic] Magazine

Metric – Fantasies

“If somebody’s got soul / You’ve gotta make the move”

Metric have soul. They have an effortlessly achieved demeanour of cool that has always been something to be reckoned with. In ‘Live It Out’, tracks were refreshing, all due to a rare gothic groove that scared the living shit out of you. Think about the first time ‘Patriarch On A Vespa’ blew you away with its overwhelming powerful opening chord. They had intention, direction, a consistent aim and achievement. I think you can probably tell where I’m going with this…

Whether some big-wig record heads have their ears parked on the studio walls or whether it was a genuine belief that commercial success was the right way to go, ‘Fantasies’ is an altogether manifested attempt to build on reasonable popularity and mould it into something huge. It’s not, strictly speaking, ’selling out’. No. It’s a bandwagon jump on musical trends but it’s not necessarily a die-hard attempt to lure in the dollar. But in this plunge for the riches, something’s fallen out of their pockets. The dirtiness of Emily Haine’s lyrics – gone. The tightness and formidability of the rhythm section, the overall sound – only visible on one single track, ‘Gold Guns Girls’. That very song, assisted in some small part by occasional glimmering moments of hope, save the album from falling from the money pit straight down through the trap door to oblivion.

‘Stadium Love’s title on its own is definitely a statement, reassuring all of where exactly Metric aren’t aiming for. But they leave without any indication of where exactly they are heading. Metric has always been Haines’ outputs for the jaunty pop, the side-step from her murkier creations as a solo artist. Here, there’s no sense of joy or relief on her part – as a project, Metric doesn’t sound refreshing to any of the members anymore.

It feels like more than just a stumble, more on the level of a fifty-foot-dive from a luxury apartment onto rusty concrete. Truthfully, never has an album so much deserved to be laid out on an interrogation table, repeatedly asked, “What the fuck just happened?” The first three tracks, commencing with the awkward but catchy ‘Help, I’m Alive’, declare something at least, and warrant mild applause. ‘Gold Guns Girls’, believe it or not, is near on perfect. But there onwards comes a dip so severe, the musical equivalent of Paradise to Hades, that you feel physically offended. ‘Stadium Love’ is the perfect example of how not to apply synthesizers and stop-start rhythms, the culmination of a dreadful period of indecision and what must be sheer laziness.