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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 25 May 2009
It's very rare that you love an album the first time you listen to it - so be warned! This record is simply fantastic. I've been a fan of Metric since seeing them at SXSW a few years back - I'd never heard of them before and they blew me and the rest of the crowd away.
The songs are innovative and uplifting and I just can't get enough of Emily Haines' beautiful voice.
Buy this, appreciate and spread the word.
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Canadian band Metric would appear to want to strike a mean
and moody pose but despite themselves they cannot help their
deeply ingrained pure-pop sensibilities shining through.

Much of this has to do with Emily Haines' voice. It's just too
sunny to summon The Prince Of Darkness! In its own sweet way it
is a simple joy. Never so ephemeral that it becomes insipid; never
so brash that it would make your Grandmother have a funny turn!

'Fantasies' is made up of ten perfectly-judged slices of
power-pop, situated somewhere between the gloomier side of
Avril Lavigne and the cheeky seaside musings of Katy Perry.
The occasional nod towards eighties electronic chic does not
go unnoticed but what stands out most of all is the band's
ability to conjure infectiously memorable melodies and hooks
from their simple materials.

Joules Scott-Key is a fine drummer. He provides a solid
platform for James Shaw's robust guitar and Josh Winstead's
workmanlike bass. Ms Haines also likes to tinker with her
synthesiser here and there, adding additional texture and
colour to the economically constructed arrangements.

There are some great little tunes here. The best amongst them
would have to include : 'Gimme Sympathy', a cracking composition
studded with Mr Shaw's ringing guitar chords and a deliciously
uplifting chorus where Ms Haines asks (with a sly smile!) :
"Who would you rather be - The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?";
opening track 'Help I'm Alive', which manages to generate an almost
menacing atmosphere for nearly a couple of minutes until a sideways
step into the Velvet Underground 'Sweet Jane'-like riff and
Ms Haines' shift into her fragile upper register leads us by the
hand into far more benign territory and the splendidly chugging
bluster of 'Front Row', a song so tight and well-crafted that it
would doubtless stay afloat in the even the wildest storm!

With 'Fantasies' Metric have delivered a thoroughly
enjoyable and far from mediocre listening experience.

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on 9 April 2009
This is an extremely accessible and catchy album. The songs are varied in dynamics (there can be interludes and key changes and crescendoes all in the same song) and the melodies are mostly pop hooks. This is not a hard hitting, heavy sounding album like Live it Out was, but it is still exceptionably likeable. The production is silky and definitely less raw sounding than Live it Out.

The venom in this album is to be found in the often satirical lyrics, rather than the music itself. The commentary seems to be directed more towards fame, celebrity, and the media than big business or government, though that is strictly my personal interpretation.
From Front Row:
"I'm in the front row with a bottle
Don't know what I can't decide
I'm in the front row I'm a model
Don't know what I can't describe

Burned out stars they shine so bright
All of us
Burned out stars they shine so bright"

Haines' vocals are far better on thus album than on Live it Out. Her range has improved and she uses her ability to change the tone of a song completely with vocal sleight-of-hand to great effect. Definitely a "performance" in the strongest sense of the word: the changes in her voice almost act out the lyrics.

The bad:
I feel that they, as a band, have the talent to do more than this. Fantasies is a great alt-rock/pop album, but it isn't the departure that Live it Out was, and the radio friendly nature of some of the songs may turn off die hard fans of their previous album. On the other side of the coin: fans of their earlier electro sound might be disappointed to learn that the synths have been minimised yet again. I was hoping for more Grow Up and Blow Away keyboard sounds, but I suspect they're intent on moving away from that style.

In conclusion, I think that most Metric fans will be pleased with this album, even if it might not blow them away, at least we finally have a new album to listen to, and there are some great tracks on here.
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on 16 June 2011
Metric have always had a certain consciously 'cool' quality to them which has up until now somewhat overshadowed their music. Rather than fighting the pop sensibilities which let's be honest, are always going to come to dominate a keyboard centred indie band, they've finally embraced them and the results are that consistent combination of catchy AND cool which only occasionally fought its way out of 2005's 'Live It Out'. It's not a uniformly spectacular album, with 'Twilight Galaxy' dragging on a bit too long, 'Gold Guns Girls' too repetitive and 'Stadium Love' just sub-par, but this is by far and away the best album Metric/Emily Haines has produced and there is a lot to be positive about. 'Gimme Sympathy' is easily the most accessible track on the album, but the calmer, more enchanting (and unusually lyrically heartfelt) 'Collect Call' probably has the most catchy chorus. Equally 'Blindness' is highly addictive (I listened to it over and over when I bought this album) given you're prepared to wait for it to get into its flow. The rest of the album is solid, if not remarkable. 'Help I'm Alive' is really good, but the acoustic version (not available on every version of this album) is better; when Emily Haines says she trembles on the acoustic version, you can actually hear (and believe) it. All in all this is a solid album. It's more accessible than much of Broken Social Scene (of which Haines is a part time member) or Haines' solo material, yet suitably off the beaten track for most people, or at least those unfamiliar with the Canadian scene.
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on 5 February 2014
Help I'm Alive is the best song I've heard in a while! The rest of the album is pretty good and there are a lot of tracks including some acoustic versions and remixes so good value.
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on 16 August 2012
I love this album.
I have listened to it every night at bedtime for the last 3 months and I'm still not bored with it.
The melodies are like nothing I've ever heard before and her voice is really beautiful to listen to.
The tunes are really imaginitive and rememberable and the lyrics are meaningful and often witty.
My favourite track is Blindness. The melody still makes the hairs on my arms stand up even now. I think it's a song about hope. I can't describe why but it makes me very emotional.
I can't recommend this album highly enough. Give it a try. You will be hooked!
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on 1 October 2012
I never even knew this band existed until I heard Help I'm Alive at the end of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.
I have to say I'm very glad I watched that film now or I could have completely missed this band.
I immediately popped on Amazon with the intent of downloading just the one song, but on sampling the album I just had to have the whole thing.
There are no weak songs at all on this album which is a rare thing indeed...
I have since downloaded Synthetica which is equally brilliant.
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on 3 June 2011
Have to say that although I only occasionally dabble in this sort of music (Shiny Toy Guns, Fujiya, Ladytron) this is an excellent album; bit more variety than the more rock based Live it Out and is all the better for it. Unless you are really just into the more generic guitar rock based sound then I would start here!
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on 15 February 2010
Very catchy album, i liked it from the first listening. I thought I'd wait a bit before reviewing it though and well the truth is a few months later I still find this album very impressive. Every single song is good, if not great.
Definitely in my top 5 albums of 2009 and taking Metric to another level!
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on 13 July 2012
Someone on the radio described it as "garbage for the less developed" and unfortunately that seemed like a fair comment! I like the vibe of it sometimes, but more as aural wallpaper. I dont think the record has too much substance. I'm not mad about her voice either.
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