The first 11 seconds of Metric's new album are infuriating, a whispery, sustained ambient sound that I have to fast-forward every damn time. Still, I kinda appreciate it as a deep breath before a deep album that will likely impress you - or at least meet your expectations of Metric's capabilities. Emily Haines's words are reliably downcast, chillingly provocative and cleverly intertextual as she prowls all over sharp, tastefully produced (by Jimmy Shaw) art rock tracks about love, war, contradiction, self-worth and automated life. It may all come off a bit petulant, but there are some hope-seeds planted in that soil of cynicism. The music is less polarized than before, somewhat bridging the gap between their Calculation Theme and Combat Baby styles. Oh, and designer Josh Hassin's album art is beautiful.
Metric play the second of two shows at the Phoenix tonight (Thursday, September 29).