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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.
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on 5 August 2011
As mentioned by other reviewers and music afficionados all over the internet, this album was recorded and pushed to one side for many a year, in favour of releasing albums that Metric felt more in keeping with their overall sound/remit. By some sheer fluke, Grow Up And Blow Away was the first album that I had heard by Metric, and I have to say that it got me hooked. Beautifully atmospheric jazz sounds intermingle effortlessly with synths and samples, all overlaid with the captivating girlish-yet-experienced vocals. I have since listened to the more widely recognised Metric records from more recent times, and I have to say that personally, I'm the bigger fan of Grow Up. I feel that it has a lot more to offer than the, dare I say it, slightly more generic sound of their later records. That said, they're still head and shoulders above most of the indie/rock crowd in all their endeavours.
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on 20 June 2007
A lyrically and musically brilliant album which, until now, was languishing in cyberspace to by downloaded in whole or in part only by fans who knew they should be looking for it. It is the opening chapter in a refreshing rock story, taking place amidst a lot of derivative, mass-produced, cynical dreck.

Emily Haines, daughter of the late poet, Paul Haines, seems to have inherited his gift for the written word and marries it here with a sophisticated blend of pop, electro, rock and even jazz influences for a record that stands apart from a lot of what would have been in the same section of your local record shop circa 2000-2001, when it was recorded.

Apparently, after writing and recording the entire album, Metric decided it didn't sound much like the band they were becoming, so it got shelved. Fortunately -- and to the delight of those who use the internet to discover music, rather than steal it -- Last Gang Records has stepped in to help get the record out. And I'll be among the first to buy a proper copy.

The album is a prequel -- the missing link for the for those who know Metric from either Live it Out and/or Old Word Underground. Some may find it hard to go 'backward' but I encourage every Metric fan to give it a listen -- the music is top-notch, as are the lyrics and Emily Haines' always charismatic delivery. Grow Up and Blow Away explains Old World, which, in turn, informs the sound of LIve it Out. It is another mark of a truly interesting and creative band that each of these albums sounds so different -- and yet contains the markers of an evolutionary process. This is not a band that makes the same record over and over again.

I won't try to describe the sound (for fear of lapsing into awful music review cliche), but there are many moments where the record sounds -- to my ears -- like an effortlessly hip soundtrack to an independent film... cool and breezy on the surface, darker and more complex as one begins to take the lyrics in. I suppose even that is too loaded with cliche imagery, but there we are.

Bottom Line: If you like Metric, get this record -- you need it to understand the band completely. If you don't know Metric but fancy yourself a musical sophisticate, get this record -- you can't be one without it.
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on 18 November 2007
This is stripped down Metric at their finest. This effort really showcases Emily's dynamic and disarming vocals, which are as sincere and beautiful as ever. Just listen to 'Hardwire' and 'Soft Rock Star' and you'll know what I mean (among others). And Jimmy puts in some interesting counter points in songs like 'The Twist' and the high pitched chorus in 'Rock Me Now' - Emily's sultry talking-mode monologue here is quite enchanting after a few close listens - even though the song is a marked departure from their usual style. 'On the Sly' is back to true Metric form - catchy rhythms and chorus, however, without any jarring interludes they're more well known for (end result being pleasant, but not quite as satisfying). Even though this album was intended as their debut, I think its delayed release has worked very much in their favour, as they now have a solid fan base to draw from, who will no doubt be receptive to the sensitive depth this album exudes. A very timely and thought provoking release indeed.
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on 27 November 2012
Bought this CD back in October 2012 and over a month down the line, i still haven't grown tired of listening to it. Every track is a gem. A must have item for anyone who loves the band Metric
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I'm not going to review this album in depth, only to say that this is their first one and if like me you found them later in the day then you won't gain anything by buying this retrospectively. I enjoyed the sound of the three later albums but this is more like pretentious pop music than rock. If you're thinking about it then sample every track before you buy. It might save you some money.
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