Spotlight: angsty synthpop band Metric has one foot on Ossington and one in Hollywood
Synthpop quartet Metric aims for the horizon with a new album and a high-profile gig writing music for David Cronenberg
Ever since online piracy blew a hole through the music industry, any band wanting to survive has had to find ways to make themselves heard while retaining an ounce of dignity—never an easy task. Metric has been playing it smart since it began, marrying Kiss-sized ambitions with an indie rock desire for control over their output. Over a dozen years and five albums, the quartet, fronted by the leggy Emily Haines, has become the quintessential 21st-century band—totally okay with licensing their angsty synthpop for commercials, TV shows and video games, while still choosing to record in guitarist Jimmy Shaw’s home studio on Ossington and put their stuff out on their own label. Synthetica, their new album, is a product of that creative schizophrenia: the music is arena-friendly and full of shout-along choruses, perfect for the summer festival circuit (the band is on the bill at Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival in August). And yet every song sounds as though it were written for a movie montage, with a dark-eyed heroine driving away from a bad and bloody scene. That cinematic quality has made Metric a favourite of directors looking for music that tells an audience when things are going to get heavy. Their songs have been featured in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. And the band is currently working on the score for David Cronenberg’s nightmarish Cosmopolis, due out later this year. Hooking up with Cronenberg, another artist who found mainstream success without sacrificing his outsider cred, is just another smart move.
Available June 12