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CD Reviews - Metric
Metric: Live It Out
January 2006
By: Blair Bryant
album cover of Metric's CD Live It Out

"Rocks like a sexy librarian," as Caryn Ganz of SPIN puts Metric’s sound. True, yes. But it also rocks like those who have returned from a night of all-out partying with the indie rock band of the moment. You know, the ones who, despite being hammered the previous night, manage to drag themselves to work the next morning--- and (gasp!) on time. Riding out 2005 with the follow-up to their critically acclaimed album Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? the arty yet unpretentious quartet doesn’t heavily rely on what worked previously for them. Though a bit confusing at times, what is apparent is that Metric doesn’t linger in the past and isn’t afraid move forward. As more bands emerge from this “movement” of sorts, they begin to sound the same, which gets inevitably exhausting. Unlike their counterparts, they do not slack creatively and stay in “safe mode” with Live It Out.

Although not as memorable as the infectious sound of Old World Underground, the album Live It Out further indicates that Metric has been spending more time focusing on artistic merit and evolving as a band and less time indulging of the sex, drugs, and rock and roll clichés which inevitably plague the music industry. Truth be told, we may never know (and not like it’s any of our business), but at least it comes off as though they had better things to do than become a bunch of strung out has-beens. Metric returns with yet another audibly stimulating album which relies on less pop and creates a more rock-centered sound.

Guitarist Jimmy Shaw steps up as producer for Live It Out, and delivers the band’s sophomore effort with a darker tone than the previous full-length. As apparent in the opening track, Empty sets the tone of the album with aggression brewing beneath the surface. Frontwoman Emily Haines repeatedly belts, “I’m so glad that I’m an island,” in which isolation and bitterness appropriately fits the album’s running theme. Too Little Too Late takes the pace down a few notches yet still manages to be passive aggressive in nature. However, Poster of a Girl loses a bit of continuity as it sounds as though it’s a B-side to Kelly Osbourne’s One Word. Perhaps if it lost a bit of the French murmurs and laid off of the dance beat, it wouldn’t feel so out of place. Luckily it’s back to the road of furor on the band’s first single Monster Hospital. Epic in nature, it perfectly suits the Repulsion-inspired music video with reflects the anxiety and paranoia in Haines’ voice.

What’s fascinating is angst-ridden Haines’ soft vocals throughout the album can as sweet as they are deceptive. This further proves this album, has substance without being all looks or stage antics. What Live It Out lacks on the album, Metric more than makes up live, thanks to its lead vocalist. One of the best frontwomen within the indie rock scene, Haines is uncontrived and doesn’t have to try hard to exude confidence and energy. Better yet, she doesn’t reek of desperation by pulling the, “Look at me, I’m hot! I’m vulgar!” card. In a perfect world, that alone would compensate for an album which could have been stellar but had a few flaws along the way. But in an ever-changing scene, perhaps they’ll see more recognition after completing their opening stint with The Rolling Stones in early January 2006. To give Metric the benefit of the doubt, they’ve churned out one of the more impressive and less over-hyped albums of 2005.