A band new philosophy

Chris Lau

Cerebral Canadian synth group Metric are ready to rock Clockenflap

Chris Lau |

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Canadian synth-pop group Metric are deep thinkers, as lead singer Emily Haines proves when she describes the band's fifth album Synthetica as a conflict between realism and artificiality. She says the effects-packed record is about trying to achieve something with a lack of motivation.

More philosophical still, the popular second track is titled Youth Without Youth, another hard-to-grasp, contradictory statement.

The way the band perceives their musical style is no less abstract than the themes of their songs.

"I've never found that words describe music very well," says guitarist James Shaw, when asked how he feels about fans labelling Metric's music as synth-pop.

"Musical descriptions of my music are not meant for me. They are meant for people that don't know what we sound like. I know what we sound like and need no explanation. That said - yes, sure - synth-pop works," he tells SYP.

On December 1, fans can judge Metric's style for themselves, when Shaw and Haines, and their bandmates bassist Joshua Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key perform at Clockenflap. From the start of their career, back in 1998, the group established a unique sound, their hallmark being an upbeat tempo and electronic twists.

In 2003, the band released their debut album Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?, followed two years later by their sophomore effort, Live It Out, which was nominated for Best Alternative Album that year at the Canadian Juno Awards. Their fame and fanbase grew, at home and abroad, and their fourth and fifth records, Fantasies and Synthetica, followed in 2009 and 2012 respectively.

Recently, the band launched a new app that aims to encourage listeners who think they are just a synth-pop band to engage more with the intricacies of their sound.

The app allows users to remix tracks from Synthetica and Synthetica Reflections - a new compilation album of songs from the deluxe edition of Synthetica - and tracks the band has put online for streaming.

Looking back at their work over the past decade, Shaw says: "Well, we've naturally grown up. Tried things, failed at some and succeeded at others."

He says the band has changed, but the changes were neither forced nor superficial. "If our style stayed the same, there would be a problem. I would tend to think that it's just a natural evolution of people growing as they should."

As for what the band will play at Clockenflap, Shaw says they are going to leave that decision until the big day.

"But I'm sure it will be a high-energy, fancy time," he says. "We've never been to Hong Kong, and are very excited!"

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