A name like Synthetica with songs titled “Artificial Nocturne” imply high conceptualization right off the bat. This band, known for their songs featured in the popular “Twilight” movies and on “Grey’s Anatomy”, write and produce songs that weigh heavy in listener’s heads and hearts. Synthetica would prove to be nothing further from a breeze.
Metric didn’t play any games this time around, either. Synthetica is fearless, opening with the line “I’m just as f*cked up as they say” and propelling onward for a bold hour of pure musical innovation.
Synthetica is up to par with Metric’s history sonically and lyrically, if not reaching further ahead. “Speed The Collapse” has a lyrical peak, singing “Pushed away, I’m pulled toward/Come down with revolving doors/Every warning we ignored/Drifting in from distant shores.” Though it may not make sense until the second or third listen, be patient. This is where good music comes alive.
The band delivers their signature styling: dark melodies, hazily bright vocals and haunting storylines. It’s a heavily rooted combination, but heartily constructed in a full-fledged exploration of their message. When Metric set out to explain their thoughts about the lies cast in society and the deception we face every day, they executed just that. What pours onto the soundtrack is pure truth about the problematic system we live under and how much dishonesty can affect our lifestyles. This message, however broad, is real and consistent. We, as listeners can gain wisdom and perspective from it.
Aside from the lyrical wonder cast beneath the ghostly vocals of singer Emily Haines, an array of sounds weave through Synthetica’s measures. The highs and lows, rights and wrongs are thrilling to ride alongside.
Sometimes the tracks don’t excel when Metric dips into lower-energy content, like in “Clone” near the album’s end, but at least they prove to be diverse. After all, their first hit, “Monster Hospital” was featured in some sort of dramatic montage on “Grey’s.” It’s clear that the band thrives on the heavy beats and shredding nonsense that makes them so unique.
Near the end of Synthetica lies something that was already worrisome by the idea of it. Lou Reed on Metric’s tracks was a strange combination to imagine, but “The Wanderlust” ended up being pretty cool-sounding. Though it seems that Reed’s only contribution was vocals in the song’s chorus, which was probably for the best, but the duet effect adds to the eclectic mix that flows through the album in its many thick melodies metaphors.
The album’s title track is like church for people who resist the deceptive messages of the public world: “No drug is stronger than me/Synthetica/We’re all the time confined to fit the mold/But I won’t ever let them make a loser of my soul.” Take what you will of it, but don’t walk away empty-handed. This stuff is brilliant and surely not to be missed.