This album seemed lost in that endless cycle of large music labels buying small labels, with bands, musicians, and entire albums forgotten during that turnover. Here is happy news for music fans as one of these casualties is finally seeing the light of day. Metric’s first full-length album Grow Up And Blow Away is finally being released after an eight year delay by its current label, Last Gang Records.
Metric was originally a two person band (Emily Haines on synthesizer and vocals, Jimmy Shaw on guitar) during the recording of GUBA before adding two more members (Josh Winstead on bass, Joules Scott-Key on drums) for subsequent albums Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? and Live It Out. Having listened to the band’s later albums before listening to GUBA, I can say that there is a difference between the latter quintet and the former duo. But oddly, the duo’s efforts in establishing a Metric sound are clear.
The Metric sound is very present in the title track “Grow Up And Blow Away” with its laid-back synth sound. The song is very consistent in its rhythm and beat, but there is an underlying feeling that it seems to be building up into something huge. It doesn’t, which is ironic given that two of the title words are “blow away.”
This laid-back sound continues in the smooth electronic-like pop of “Hardwire.” The band goes in a different direction with its casual urban sounding “The Twist” that can best be described as a very slow Lily Allen. There’s attitude in this song that goes well with its eerie droplets of doom and loneliness. GUBA has many more down tempo tracks than the common upbeat fare found on Metric’s later works. With the angelic “Soft Rock Star” and the somewhat depressing “White Gold” you’d swear this wasn’t a band destined for electronic dance pop.
It doesn’t get better in “London Halflife” with lyrics like “Oh watch out, you’re better off with half your life, otherwise wasted.” Don’t lyrics like that just wanna make you party and drink to your heart’s content? But the band does leave on a high note with its Jimmy vs. Joe Milk mix of “Soft Rock Star.” I earlier described it as angelic, and that’s mainly because of Emily’s voice. In the remix, she still sounds angelic, but there is a faster tempo and there are more of the beats that Metric is known for.