Metric - Fantasies

'Who'd you rather be - The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?' is the frankly ridiculous question posed during the chorus of Metric's new single Gimme Sympathy. Well, I dunno about you but when I grow up, I want to be Emily Haines. Gender issues aside, let's face it: Haines is goddamn cool. She's one of those people who is so dangerously charismatic that she needs no validation in NME 'cool lists'; in fact, I'm sure she'd raise a perfect eyebrow at her inclusion and write a vitriolic song about it instead. Following her solo album of sorts with The Soft Skeleton, a project that saw her trading attitude for piano-led laments, she's back with her Canadian boys for the band's fourth studio album, Fantasies.

Opener Help I'm Alive sets the tone, swirling synths, jagged guitars and a typical Haines vocal, both coquettish and apathetic, colouring an interesting structure. Sympathy is probably the most melodic and upbeat thing on offer but there's no breakout hit here, a la Dead Disco or Monster Hospital, and nothing makes me want to dance while simultaneously crawling under my skin like Poster of a Girl. However, not counting languid ballad Twilight Galaxy, this is what one would expect: a short, fast blast of spunky and very agreeable streamlined rock. Of course, Haines's presence elevates it, the end product hitting a stride that is one part Haines's beloved Sonic Youth, one part a hotter Kim Deal and two parts a pumped-up, cleverer Garbage. By the time Stadium Love closes the show, imagining an all-out, end-of-the-world brawl between species like it would be the coolest thing ever, you'll wonder why this band aren't frequenting stadiums themselves.



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