So, it’s not surprising that the band’s sophomore release, Live It Out, seems to spin in a haze of disappointment and frustration that appears to espouse a defeated mindset on a number of songs.
The catchy chorus of the first single, "Monster Hospital" says it all as vocalist Emily Haines belts out, "I fought the war, but the war won. Stop for the love of god."
Haines, whose personal politics are evident from her lyrics – which have spoken about gender and against aggression – sees this record not as one of defeat but of acceptance. "If we were defeated, we wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t have made this record," she says laughing.
Haines is quick to explain her reticence to self-analyze, but adds, "It’s about facing things. It’s about acknowledging things as they are and dealing with them."
Though Metric’s sound has traditionally been dominated by the keyboard of Haines, this record marks a departure and focuses on the guitar of James Shaw, who also produced the record as well.
"I write a lot of slow, pretty songs on piano, and then I take them to the rest of the band and we make them Metric songs," Haines laughs. "On this record [drummer] Joules [Scott-Key] and [bassist] Josh [Winstead] had a lot more input," which seems to have made this record feel even more full.
Although, it is difficult to look at the quartet’s newest record without comparing it to their first release, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?. The more produced sound ofLive It Outis entirely a fluke, according to Haines who explains, "We had less money and less everything. We bought all this vintage gear over the last year, James set up this home studio and we just hoped for the best. We were using Good Will blankets as insulation. I was really pleased with how it turned out."
The band returned to Canada, on its way across the border as the results of the 2004 election results came in, and set up shop in their old hometown. "This past year, it’s been great going back to Canada. It was wonderful to spend time in Toronto and Montreal," Haines says.
The northward migration also gave the band members a chance to work with their old friends in Broken Social Scene. Haines is a guest appearance on their newest record, which came out the same day as Metric’s latest. "Those are the people we have been making music with for 10 years," Haines recalls. "It was great to step into another role with them."
Metric recently returned to its old stomping grounds at the El Rey to blow the roof off the building with an amazing set to a sold out crowd in what Haines called "a beautiful night." The songs off the new record popped at this show, in a way they don’t on the recordings. The audience moved constantly, their dancing creating an illusion of a turbulent ocean in the low light of the historic Los Angeles venue.
Haines doesn’t see a difference in the songs themselves, but instead in the attitude of the performers and their fans. "We all have the same idea of what a good show is, " she asserts. "We go out and give it our all." When these four stellar musicians step off the stage, having given it all to the crowd, no one is left wanting.
Live It Out is currently available. For more information, visit www.ilovemetric.com.