Monday, June 9, 2008

Spotlight: Metric

One of Canada's favorites are back in the studio working on their highly anticipated fourth album. While there is no set release date as of now, there is plenty to keep Metric fans busy in the meantime.

Front-woman Emily Haines and the boys of Metric have come a long way since their early days. Actually, the first Metric album saw its official release just last summer after years of sitting on the shelf and internet file sharing: the experimental Grow Up and Blow Away, 11 tracks with electronic, jazz and trip-hop influences. They followed it up with 2003's critically acclaimed Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?, which established Metric as one of Canada's premiere indie rock bands. They then released another hit with Live It Out in 2005, a balance of rock anthems and synthesizers that kept fans happy while gaining them many new ones.

Emily Haines also tried her hand at a solo venture in '06 that resulted in Knives Don't Have Your Back, a collection of morose, piano-driven songs "for people who cry in the bathtub where no one can see your tears," Haines has joked. On Knives, Haines' keen social awareness takes center stage on many of the tracks, commenting on feminism, the drug industry and social institutions such as marriage.

Haines' lyrics on Metric songs have dealt with similar issues, often telling stories with themes of conflict and social change ("I fought the war but the war won't stop for the love of God!"). However, Haines may change her tune a bit with this next album, as she told Under the Radar magazine in a recent interview: '"A lot of what I feel like I had to get off my chest, I got off my chest," Haines says, preferring to express "a shared bewildered desire to actually enjoy our lives as much as we can despite the current situation."'

Live performances of quite a few new Metric tracks have been floating around YouTube. So far, the response from fans has been mostly positive; the new songs sound like Live It Out Part 2 with their rock/electronic sound and Emily's voice soars as strong as ever. If the past is any indication, Metric will be back with another inspiring record in 2009.

In the meantime, you can check out a handful of new songs on YouTube or take a trip to Canada, where they will be appearing in various music festivals this summer. Below is a live performance of "Joyride"; follow the Related Video links to see and hear more. It's in my top three of the new tracks next to "Standing in Line" and "Up in Flames" ... it's hard to pick a favorite, but that's a good thing!

- Jessy Bartlett

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