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CD of The Week

Week of 9/24/18

    Metric - Art of Doubt (MMI / Crystal Math)

    For almost two decades, Metric have been crafting hooky, vital indie rock, balancing between synth sounds and raging guitars. On their last album, 2015's Pagans in Vegas, the band tipped the scales into electronics further than ever, with guitar-less tracks like "Cascades" giving off late '90s 'electronica' vibes. With their newest record, Art of Doubt, the guitars come back out, as the opening track and lead single "Dark Saturday" makes abundantly clear.

    There is a definite "carpe diem" attitude throughout Art of Doubt, as singer/keyboardist Emily Haines is well aware that time is running out for us all. The widescreen anthem "Now or Never Now" urges to make the most of the time we have, advice she revisits in "Love Your Back," the title track and "Holding Out," where she asks, "What are you doing tonight? / You can't just scroll through pictures and hide / What do you wanna do right / Yeah, what do you wanna do right now?"

    Jimmy Shaw's sharp guitars roar in and out throughout the album, bringing that aforementioned balance back to Metric's sound. Shaw has usually been the main producer for the majority of the band's catalog but stepped away to let producer/musician Justin Meldal-Johnson (you know him best as Beck's longtime bassist) helm Art of Doubt.

    One of the clear highlights of the record is "Dressed to Suppress," with the twisted wordplay of the chorus playing on the happy face we show to the world vs. what is inside. It has the energy of some of their greatest songs and when it really kicks in, actually calls to mind "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" by The Killers.

    The doom of the world around us hangs at the edges of these, with lyrics like "While we lie here in the sun / The whole wide world's about to explode" ("Dark Saturday") and 'Cause it's a goddamn shame about the wall to wall wars" ("Art of Doubt").

    On the second half of the records, a few of the longer and slower songs tend to blur together and the catchy choruses are in shorter supply than usual. But Art of Doubt is an urgent call to engage with this world around us while rocking out at the same time.

    If you love Metric, you can spend Valentine's Day 2019 with them here in Philadelphia at The Fillmore.
    Review by Joey O.

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