Review: Metric go back to the beginning to sound new again on Art of Doubt

On their seventh album, the long-running indie rock band shows familiarity doesn't have to be a curse

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In the modern music age, familiarity can be a curse. What makes music exciting is where it pushes boundaries. But what of the wisdoms of the beloved bands who’ve spent years fighting for our attention?

On Metric’s seventh album, aptly titled for the digital era, Art Of Doubt, both worlds collide: we get the comfort of a familiar band, at it almost 20 years, whose rock music strives for and delivers freshness.

They strip themselves back to their early sound without making us feel like we’re at the beginning of their career. Dark Saturday is a dance-floor-ready track with cascading keys amid a swirl of riffs. Die Happy is a pop-rock meditation on the fucked-up, dystopian feeling of the world right now. While the album’s curve downward from high-energy to contemplation is mostly a strength, it takes a minute to adjust from the raucous sound of Dressed To Suppress to Risk and then to Seven Rules. 

On No Lights On The Horizon, Haines sings tenderly, “I’m just not for everyone / I might be just for you,” which captures the prevailing mood of the record and, in a way, the appeal of Metric in general. 

The band sounds like the same blistering art-rockers who first made their mark with Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? In the years since their ascension, they’ve swerved through classics like Fantasies and the high-concept Synthetica and Pagans In Vegas, giving us different versions of their sound all along. 

Art Of Doubt shows that you can still find comfort in the sounds of your past, especially if the bands who shaped you have adapted and evolved along with you. 

Top track: No Lights On The Horizon | @sarahsmacdonald

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