Live It Out
The dance-rock party of the 2000s couldn't last forever, finally winding down into its inevitable early-morning trip to the 24-hour diner. But fluorescent lights be damned—we still wouldn't mind taking Emily Haines home with us at the end of the night. The singer-keyboardist for Canada's Metric has the blue high heels–wearing charisma of a Northern Karen O, complete with those body-throttling, woman-on-the-verge-of-a-new-wave-breakdown performances. She's blessed with a rich, smoky-sweet voice not entirely unlike that of fellow Broken Social Scene alum Feist, but better suited for Metric's slick synth-pop. On 2003's debut Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? she talks politics and croons libidinous love songs, both with perfect ease. Oh, and onstage she can strike a pose with her keyboard without looking like a dork. Impressive.
Metric's members were heading back from their respective U.S. digs to Toronto to record their latest, Live It Out, the very day George Bush got reelected. The result sounds like they got pretty depressed: "I fought the war / and the war won," Haines sings on the album's first single, "Monster Hospital." Perhaps it's an expat shrug of the shoulders after Old World's antiwar declarations. Maybe Metric's boiling-hot makeshift recording studio induced a state of lyrical lethargy. Whatever happened, Haines has penned an album that flows like a Fellini-esque personal diary, stringing together little poetic notions rather than complete thoughts (although cringers like "When there's no way out, the only way out is to give in" occasionally needle the proceedings). Thankfully, those low points are opportunities for her bandmates to swoop in and save her, whether they're ascending into hooky hand-clapper choruses ("Empty"), or providing a Stereolab-like backdrop as she coos in French ("Poster of a Girl"). We're charmed—and we still feel like dancing.—Antonia Simigis
Metric plays two sets at Empty Bottle Tuesday 18.