Metric : Synthetica
Across the board, Synthetica presents a classic case of style over accessibility. As a result, Metric’s fifth studio album tends to frustrate more than anything, with little left to cling onto at the end of 40 feckless minutes.
Beyond tense opener Artificial Nocturne, the album ignites via the savage swagger of Youth Without Youth, its chirpy electronica clashing with bouts of brazen indie rock bravado. It’s a delectable song – certainly as close as Synthetica comes to having a flagship track – marred only by the absence of a striking chorus. Slick rocker Speed The Collapse follows, the band’s urgency re-imagined. “Fate, don't fail me now,” pleads Emily Haines, a gorgeous melodrama in full swing.
Unfortunately, such is the extent of Synthetica’s splendours: the album sounds great, though it lacks those potent, all-important moments that linger long beyond initial plays. Notably short on sharp hooks and stand-out tracks, Synthetica clings tight to its ability to shapeshift at will. An example arrives in cutesy detour Lost Kitten, the band exuding a simple, super-saccharine charm unlike any other evident throughout Synthetica. The band’s tendency to refresh and change tact proves somewhat redeeming, at least.
Overall, though, Metric’s impact here is minimal at best, Synthetica requiring an abundance of patience. The album never stoops to pack any great punch and appears doomed to some level of obscurity as a result. A harsh verdict, though Synthetica is just one of those albums. You know the sort: it’s not bad, but it’s nowhere near brilliant.
BY NICK MASON
Best Track: Lost Kitten
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In A Word: Difficult