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Grown up, blown away
on 27 June 2007
Like many a hit indie band, Metric recorded songs before they hit it big with "Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?" In this case, it's "Grow Up and Blow Away" -- which despite its "early stuff" label has musical polish and maturity, and an enigmatic twist that keeps their sprightly jazz-flavoured pop fresh.
A child's voice says "Grow up, and blow away." That's the springboard to a tangle of sensual synth twists wrapped around some solid riffs and beats. Emily Haines murmurs a bittersweet song -- alcoholism, disillusionment, and having a child without regard of where it will be: "If this is the life/why does it feel/so good to die today?... nobody knows which street to take/he took the easy way/what was the easy way?"
Things get more uptempo with the jazzy-pop vibe of "Hardwire," all about "leaving behind the basement life," and apparently trying to start a band. Then Metric slips into a series of polished pop tunes: retro-flavoured beats, sexy noir tunes, delicate electronic tunes, sweeping piano balladry, and combos of all the above.
"Grow Up and Blow Away" has a tumultuous history -- the label diddled around with it, and then the band decided that fans wouldn't like it. So it took six to eight years to hear Metric's initial take on electropop, flavoured with different sounds that faded away in subsequent albums.
The most relevant sound is jazz, which is hardly surprising as Haines is the daughter of a jazz musician. They have the basic indiepop staples -- piano, solid drums and guitar, and Haines provides swirls, bubbles and wobbles of synth. But where their last album was laced with blazing rock'n'roll, Metric infuses their new album with a heavy jazz influence, with a little bit of funk.
And Haines herself sounds like a young girl who's seen too much real life -- her voice is high and sweet, but she sings enigmatic songs of disillusionment, tormented minds, and living in a "high rise grave." The happiest ones seems to be all about touring and travelling ("I should be living/Giving my mind a chance to rewind/And playback beautiful music...").
Metric has grown up but thankfully not blown away just yet, and their previously unreleased first album shows why. Striking, memorable, and beautifully polished.