Metric - Fantasies (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Fantasies (2009)


Metric self-released its fourth album Fantasies this month, and I have no idea how it goes. I mean, I've played it quite a bit. I'm listening to opening track "Help I'm Alive" right now. But at its best, Fantasies unremarkably slips by, background music to my online Scrabble games and Gmail chats. Without Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?'s wit and hooks or Live It Out's muscle, Fantasies stands as another substandard indie dance-rock record in a sea full of 'em. Compared to the band's previous output, and to the genre as a whole, it is irrelevant and erroneous. This is unfortunate, given that it's the band's first DIY release, another early sign that while bands might not need labels, they still need editors.

"Help I'm Alive" starts the record with a series of mini-suite-like hooks. There's the anticipatory booming drum intro, followed by what feels like 50 different variations of the phrase "My heart is beating like a hammer." It's gratingly repetitive, and too slow to warrant much dancing. Same goes for most of the rest of the album. Its strongest moments, like "Gimme Sympathy" and "Stadium Love," win using cheap tricks. "Gimme Sympathy" settles for comparing the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, effectively stuffing its lyrics with references to other, better songs, over a tepid 16-note dance beat. "Stadium Love" drops cohesive storytelling for rhyming non-sequiturs and "woo"s. It's nonsense, but at least "Stadium Love" is catchy, and even refreshingly unhinged compared to Fantasies' more canned moments.

Fantasies brings little to old fans and potential new ones alike. Metric has written better choruses, beats and riffs than anything presented on this bland, safe collection. It's too boring to rock, too wooden to be ambient. While the band will hopefully remain a stunning live act, all Fantasies promises the touring circuit a few more bathroom break opportunities.