Music Reviews
Live It Out

Metric Live It Out

(Last Gang) Buy it from Insound Rating - 8/10

I think people are missing the point of Metric.

Last week at the Grog Shop, one of the cramped Cleveland venues that I'm not overly fond of, my friends and I clawed our way to the front row long before the first opener took the stage. That is, we were almost at the front row, which is fine, really, because there was only a small group in front of us, and if they felt the need to hog precious stage-space then surely they wanted to be there more than we did. Surely. Except when Metric came on they didn't clap. They didn't smile. They didn't uncross their arms. In fact, they didn't move a muscle even once throughout the entire set. (Okay, maybe I'm lying - I think I saw one of them bob his head a few times, but he might have had a nervous tic or something.) While everyone around them was shaking their cans and pumping their fists and shrieking lyrics, they just stared. Once in a while they'd turn to look at each other in disgust, like "Can you believe these assholes?" I sure couldn't. I'm no stranger to being stuck behind a really unfortunate audience member or two, but usually they're drunk and belligerent, not apathetic.

Why the hell were they up front? Isn't there some sort of unspoken rule about crowd organization, where the biggest fans get to charge the stage and the people who just want to stand around and yawn relegate themselves to the back? Last time I saw Metric, everybody was actually there to see the Stills. I could forgive their lack of energy, but Emily Haines was pissed. At one point, she lunged at the mic and told us all what idiots we were for not dancing. "Make fucking fools out of yourself. It beats going to the gym." This is not only true, but also entirely representative of Metric's "message," which is, above all the Hollywood-bashing, nothing more than "shut up and dance."

That said, the new album, Live it Out, is really, really good for that sort of thing. In what I think is an interesting departure from Old World Underground..., they seem to have tapped into their rock'n'roll reserves, producing a record with more raw energy than I would have believed possible for an already intensely hyperactive group. The riffs are harder, the beats are stronger, even the lyrics are more direct. You'll all be happy to know that the anti-Capitalist Hollywood-robot bashing is still alive and well. The already infamous Handshakes reminds me of The List in a lot of ways: "Handshakes at the ranch/small talk at the crossroads/Rubbing up to the ladder/sucking on every rung" mimics the same distaste, leading into the obligatory repetition of "Buy this car to drive to work/Drive to work to pay for this car." The majority of the record, most notably Patriarch on a Vespa, Monster Hospital and Live it Out, is perfect for all of your singing-into-your-hairbrush needs. I highly recommend a pink drink and lots of empty floor space.

The more exciting numbers are tempered with some surprisingly satisfying slow songs (say that ten times fast, Sean Connery!). Poster of a Girl might get a tad pretentious when it slips into Affiche d'une fille, but, you know - seulment c'est parce qu'ils sont canadiens. It's these tracks that best showcase Haines' candy voice, and They are much needed breathers in the midst of the riotous synth-pop.

I've heard it said that Emily Haines should strike out on her own, that she's outshining the rest of the band. Not so respectfully, I disagree; she's is a star, no doubt, but no matter the lack of complexity in the music, it's the combination of sounds that make Metric what it is, as bouncy as it is insightful, as flashy as it is understated. To the naysayers who cry "lame," I say, shut up and dance.