Originally formed in Toronto, Ontario, new wave indie band Metric didn't find success until New York was its official home. Never ones to completely settle down, the rock quartet keeps busy in not just many parts of the country, but the world as well.
The members of Metric — Emily Haines (vocals, keyboard), James Shaw (guitar), Josh Winstead (bass), and Joules Scott-Key (drums) — spent much apart to work on other musical projects.
When they all finally got together to record their fourth full-length album Fantasies, it needed to be somewhere remote and Bear Creek (near Seattle, Washington) seemed to fit the bill. Haines recalls that “the four us went out into the woods as a band with no expectations and did whatever we wanted. We were coming from London so it was a serious contrast — it felt like we had left civilization and all that mattered was music again" (press release).
The result from that forced solitude is a more mature Metric album, filled with the upbeat electro-rock melodies and the sympathetic Haines vocals that we all can't get out of our heads.
The opening "Help I'm Alive" is classic Metric, oscillating back and forth between revved up acceleration and casual cruise control. It speaks much about how we should all spend our lives, not stifled by hesitation but instead clutched with excitement and action: "If you're still alive / My regrets are few / If my life is mine / What shouldn't I do?"
While the foursome is greatly praised for their energy, the band displays much compassion during their slower numbers. Often profound, the pseudo-ballads like "Twilight Galaxy" elicit surprising sentiments ranging from disappointment to commiseration to wonder: "Did I ask you for attention / When affection is what I need / Thinking sorrow is perfection / I'd wallow 'til you told me / There's no glitter in the gutter / There's no twilight galaxy."
Fantasies constantly feels as if it's in the now, embracing the moment. Part of it has to do with making sense of yourself and your life (the mania of "Gold Funs Girls" and the gentlest parent talk ever in "Gimme Sympathy"). Another part of it has to do with making sense of everything else, to which Haines explains that "the function of music in my life is to help me understand what the hell is happening."
The soothing "Collect Call" is the album's highlight, assuredly giving the best life advice: "If somebody's got soul / You gotta make the move / Make the move." Fantasies is an appropriate title for the Metric album, but only if you follow their advice and make your personal fantasies come true