I can't wait to get my hands on this CD! Currently, it has been released in advance on iTunes, and all the tracks can be heard on the band's website. It is of such quality that I hope fans new and old alike will make a point of paying for this gem.
Their last release was in 2005, the sharp and rockin' Live It Out. It represented another versatile extreme for the band; Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? was indie brilliance in a time when indie to me strove to be so different and experimental, it rendered things haphazardly listless and largely un-listenable. That catchy effort was mostly synth driven.
With Live It Out, the sound expertly slipped from loud to soft, and it was punch in the face--in a good way. I must admit it took a while for me to get used to the sudden shift, but afterward, I liked it even better. That album was guitar-driven, and Haines, crooning in one track and confrontational and edgy in another, supported her range with her sharp-as-knives wit and lyrics; it was a sound that demanded attention, grabbing you by the shoulders and given it a brain-addling shake--"Empty," a song I still find exhilarating, could not be a better example.
Grow Up and Blow Away, a re-release of the band's first album, was lovely in its innocence and sweet pop melodies, and exuded honesty and playful commentary. Another completely different sound, executed very well by Metric; they are a chameleon group that shows it can exist in many spaces, and also elevate it--because when I say "sweet pop melodies," I certainly don't mean it in the shallow, soulless, repetitive, and over-produced stuff that commonly fill radio airwaves without end.
And now, we come to Fantasies. Not as extreme and Live It Out, not as fringe as Old World Underground, and not as frivolous as Grow Up and Blow Away, I find it a happy marriage of all these parts that is instantly likable. The band has never sounded so confident in their ability, and the songs are as well-produced as they have always been. The sound is clear, crisp, and thickly room-filling, and Haines does another solid job with the writing and singing. In my view, it seems they've taken the best parts of all their other albums, and combined them in a feat of alchemical brilliance that is greater than the sum of its parts.
I simply can't stop listening to it! I encourage anyone interested to preview it at their official website. Of the 10 tracks, my favourites are Gimme Sympathy, Satellite Mind, Help I'm Alive, Sick Muse, Blindness, Front Row, and Stadium Love (a great example of what I'm trying to describe, the fusion of their styles). Wait--I just about listed the entire track list, didn't I? And to tell you the truth, I really enjoy the remaining tracks a lot as well!
I think most will agree that this is a carefully constructed album, a labor of love and a culmination of their great talents. Highly recommended!