Maddy Costa 

Metric: Synthetica – review

Emily Haines is still an intriguing singer and lyricist, but Metric's music sounds a bit ordinary here, writes Maddy Costa

Listening to Synthetica, you have to keep reminding yourself that this is Emily Haines's fifth album with Metric, because the singer repeatedly comes across like a surly teenager oscillating between stroppy despair and proud optimism. Her first line, "I'm just as fucked-up as they say", is flinty with defiance; her last, "I've got nothing but time, so the future is mine", burns with hope. The more confounding she is, the more Haines gets under your skin: she delivers the cutesy Lost Kitten through a sardonic scowl, while Dreams So Real manages to express both the resignation of age and the petulance of adolescence: "I'll shut up and carry on," she chants, "the scream becomes a yawn." Musically the album is far less complicated: produced by guitarist Jimmy Shaw, Synthetica has the flawless sheen of stainless steel and feels just as workaday, with even the industrial buzz of Artificial Nocturne and Youth Without Youth polished to a characterless gleam.


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