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Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

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Band proves system in tact with new CD

Recording in a Toronto attic, Metric's goal was to make an album loyal to the misfits and the mainstream. According to the band, "The result is ten spontaneous and heartfelt songs that f-ing rock".

Since the creation of their first EP, Static Anonymity in 2001, Metric has gained quite a following of underground indie-rock/pop fans. The Canadian band, whose members consist of vocalist Emily Haines, guitarist Jimmy Shaw (also the band's producer), bassist Josh Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key, released their first album in 2003 entitled Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? Metric has derived much of their influence from Sonic Youth and has a very similar sound to Letters to Cleo, another indie-rock band. The lyrical stylings of Cleo's Kay Hanley are nearly indistinguishable from that of Haines. However close they may be, merely calling the band a cross between Sonic Youth and Letters to Cleo fails to give Metric's genuinely original sound on their second LP, Live It Out, the credit it deserves.

Like many songs on the album, the first track, "Empty," bears the influence of the aforementioned Sonic Youth. It is a six-minute song beginning slowly with Haines' mercurial vocals and erupting into a clash of drums and guitar. The song fades out as if it were going to end, but then reverts back to the beginning with different lyrics; this is one of the better songs on the album.

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Track two, "Glass Ceiling", stands out with its catchy drum beat and electric guitar, both of which are periodically interrupted by skillful piano playing.

"Handshakes" is one of the more pop-sounding songs on the record with fastidious drumming, clear bass and an expansive stream of electric guitar riffs. Haines, as usual, does her stream-of-consciousness singing/talking. "Buy this car to drive to work / Drive to work to pay for this car", is the repeated catch-22 ranting that doubles as an average love song.

A good follow-up to "Handshakes," "Too Little Too Late" carries a mellow and melodic tune that has more depth and depression than most songs on the album.

In Live it Out's fifth track, "Poster of a Girl," the band's proclaimed Pink Floyd influence can clearly be heard. The song's synthesizer-induced haze and background conversation bear a resemblance to Pink Floyd. "Monster Hospital" is the first track to be officially released to the airwaves. Haines sings "I fought the war but the war won", and not only do the lyrics sound like Bobby Fuller's 1965 song, but are also a reference to the band's previous touring struggles as well as the current political situation.

The song "Patriarch On A Vespa," in addition to containing more time changes than any other track, obviously came from the heart of the only female band member as she sings "Promiscuous makes an entrance / Her mouth is full of questions / Are we all brides to be / Are we all designed to be confined?" It is a female-angst driven song about breaking "it before it breaks us." "It" being the female double standard and the inevitability of ending up a stereotypical housewife.

There is no lack of synthesizers in "Police and the Pirate," the song on the album that makes use of the techno instrument more than any other, followed by "Ending Start," which has a more jazzy sound thanks to well-used drums and cymbals.

The tenth and final title track, "Live it Up," ends the album on a high note — literally. The vocals start off high, with the song moving into an upbeat head-tapper that sounds like "Combat Baby", from their previous LP.

Having been previously very outspoken in their criticism of the Bush administration, Metric branched out on Live It Out. As Haines told MTV in August, "It's more abstract ideas of being alive instead of specific ideas about, say, the government. It was a valid pursuit to spend a great deal of poetic energy to point out what was flawed, dishonest and wrong in the world, but I couldn't contribute anything positive by just being pissed off. We needed positivity."

Live It Out is indeed a positive while introspective 10-song list. It is dismal enough to have genuine meaning, yet with enough edge and optimism to keep your feet tapping. With an album like this under their belts, Metric is sure to be a band that will not be stuck in the abyss of underground unknowns.

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