A futuristic introspection
Longtime rock darlings Metric interrogate their heritage throughout their eighth studio album Formentera. With house-inspired synths and a bass-driven sound, their take on this album is far from brilliant. Beyond its strong and powerful rhythms, Metric has carved out a unique position throughout this album. Despite all the harsh realities they face as a band with such a profile, they never lose sight of their appreciation for their fan base. As much as the album is cynical about the present, it presents new realities in the future that don’t plunge it into despair. If the world is ending, at least someone will dance to its music.
This idea is illustrated from the beginning of “Doomscrolling”. As an opening, Formenterais explosive, every moment feeling like a crashing lightning bolt. In its punchy bass line, there is a feeling of being bludgeoned. Its contradictions are immediate. While the song plays as electrically as a 90s house song, its instrumentals are also as busy and chaotic as the digital age. Never too busy to be a mess, but busy enough where there is a dizzying effect. The listener engages with its 10 minutes of performance like a ritual, the doomscrolling movements repeated with the sounds of a kicking foot that abruptly cuts into dreamy, ethereal verse. His dizzying ability is indicative of the mood for the rest of the album, engaging with him in a way that the runtime seems to fly as if it’s a catharsis needed to kick off the new Metric era.
Lead single “All Comes Crashing” is a more romantic song, illustrating what it means to be placed at the end of the world with people you love. The pop elements still resonate throughout but have a sense of optimism and courage that connects with elements from previous songs. In a way, its lack of heavy percussion is a way to bridge the rest of the album. With more lyrical elements there is an immediate understanding of the album and its purpose. As for the main tracks, the album’s aesthetic is apparent, with its dull elements apparent, but not overwhelming. Its sound pervades everything to create a decidedly futuristic soundscape and Metric.
The title track “Formentera” has inflated cinematic artistry in a way that’s almost reminiscent of dream-pop. The bassline has a groove that seems to have a pop sensibility, but the introspective, stripped-down approach makes it a poignant addition to the rest of the album. In a way, it presents a transition between the more house elements and the synthetic sounds of the 80s, creating a nostalgic mix that leaves the listener with wonder. In intentionality, the song mimics transcendence. One of the strongest tracks on the album, it has a powerful lyrical pulse that carries its message with authority.
“I Will Never Settle” and “Enemies of the Ocean” are more traditional songs. With fewer instrumentals and occasional synths punctuating the verses, they build momentum before exploding into kinetic choruses. Just like the previous tracks, they have an intrinsic quality to house music. In looping kinetic choruses, the message of hope reflects the optimism inherent in the house genre itself. The chord progressions inherently mimic the growing revelations throughout the album in a way that feels rewarding. While consistent, the message shifts more and more from desperation to possessing the present as a mutable thing, embracing the contradictions that come with it.
“Paths In the Sky” ends the album on a note that leaves a happier ending. In the chaos that emanates from “Doomscrolling”, the ending has been stripped down to the essentials and embraces the banality. In simple and poignant lines, Metric describes the nature of time being endless, but necessary to heal. As love is portrayed, the ambiguity of the album’s close really leaves the listener wondering what the future will look like. Yet, unlike before, there is peace with the inevitable. An album rarely ends with a personal favorite, yet “Paths In the Sky” is a beautiful ballad for the apocalypse. MetricThe latest album from makes you want to bring everyone together, because friendship is the only way to maintain a sense of sanity in supposedly insane times.