Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

Album review: Metric's 'Fantasies'

April 14, 2009 |  5:14 pm

Metric It might be the final line heard on Metric's "Fantasies," but it's the one that most directly spells out the band's intent. After rhythms shuffle and quake, guitars explode in and tremble out and Emily Haines directs verses that pulsate with electronics into a triumphant chorus, "We got stadium love," she ultimately declares.

Metric doesn't hold back on its fourth album, its first in four years. When last heard on "Live It Out," the electro-pop quartet had perfected the art of teasing panic and desperation out of its spiked guitars and alt-rock-era synths. "Fantasies" is the sound of perseverance -- a celebration of rock 'n' roll tenacity despite, as Metric describes, living in a world obsessed with gold, guns and girls.

At its slightest, Metric explores the power of the song in "Gimme Sympathy," a cut that brims with energy and sass as it slides into its multitiered chorus. Better still is the statement of independence that muscles its way out of the interstellar atmospheres of "Twilight Galaxy," or the anxiety-conquering "Help I'm Alive," where an industrial buzz clanks around a swirl of echoes and shivering guitars, all of it eventually imploding into pure sugar-coated sweetness.

There's plenty of apprehension in Metric's lyrics, but "Fantasies" isn't about wallowing. As Haines sings, "If somebody's got soul, you've got to make them move." Metric more than gets the job done.

--Todd Martens

Three and a half stars