September 18, 2018 Metric – Art of Doubt (Album Review)
The Canadian band Metric were among the flag bearers of their country’s Indie music scene in the 2000s, along with kindred spirits such as The Dears (“Heartless Romantic”), The Hidden Cameras (“Smells like Happiness”), Hot Hot Heat (“Goodnight Goodnight”), The New Pornographers (“Moves”), and Stars (“Your Ex-Lover Is Dead”). They certainly put Canada on the map of the genre.
In their now exactly 20-year-old career, Metric has released six studio albums—from 2003’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? to 2015’s Pagans in Vegas—and the much-awaited follow-up, Art of Doubt, is forthcoming!
Slated to measure up on Friday, September 21, 2018, via MMI/Crystal Math Music, Art of Doubt opens with “Dark Saturday,” whose crunchy, distorted-guitar styling is a marked departure from the synthesizer-oriented direction of the current album’s direct predecessor, but which reconnects Metric to their ’90s Alternative Rock roots. Following in a subtly syncopated rhythm, “Love You Back” immediately returns the listener to the synth-guitar combo trademark of the band—suave yet ominous, with dusts of Banshee-reminiscent Gothic sensibilities. The angularity then transforms into wave-like forms as “Die Happy” plays next, but ensuring that the slicing and spiraling guitar lines remain in the equation, slightly burning like brilliant Garbage (“Stupid Girl”).
Certainly an album highlight, the melodic “Now or Never Now” is a throwback to the 2000s phase of Canadian Indie music—Post-Punk New Wave-inspired, in the veins of bass-heavy New Order (“Regret”). With its Tribal beats, the title-track pulsates in the same musical direction, albeit more driven and more Punk than New Wave. Still within the same sonic spectrum, “Under the Black,” nonetheless, comes across as a Shoegaze-Dreampop hybrid—a further homage to the band’s expansive roots. Then, swirling gracefully next with its Trip-Hop-Shoegaze swagger is “Dressed to Suppress.”
Metric shift the gear a few notches faster with the staccato, nocturnal beauty of “Risk,” only to nosedive dramatically with the synth-drenched, starry-eyed and melancholic Sophistipop ballad “Seven Rules.” “Holding Out” is a change of style and mood; still metrically pulsating its way into the groove, yet hinting some Progressive tendencies. Another heartrending ballad then gallops next in the form of the synthbass-led “Anticipate.” Finally, Metric wrap up their latest masterpiece with yet another inspired, slow, smooth, and soulful song—“No Lights on the Horizon.”
Twenty years, seven albums, well-woven songs, and yet Metric—Emily Haines (vocal, synthesizer, guitar), James Shaw (guitar, synthesizer), Joshua Winstead (bass, synthesizer), and Joules Scott-Key (drums)—are still standing tough. One of Canada’s Indie Pop treasures, Metric still have lots of magical sonic tricks to unleash from their musical hats. There definitely is no doubt that Art of Doubt is another proof of that. CrypticRock gives Metric’s seventh full-length 4 out of 5 stars.