Metric, 'Synthetica': Distilling a Decade of War, Collapse and Post-Millennial Tension
A decade ago, Ossington Avenue in Toronto's west-end was a crumbling street of dodgy garages and boarded-up business, sketchy strip clubs and bullet-ridden Vietnamese karaoke joints. In the years since it's resurrected itself into a bustling enclave of independently owned hipster bars, foodie restaurants and art galleries. This has caused the too-cool kids to complain about its popularity, despite the absence of corporate chains that mark other gentrified areas.
Of course, as the street pulled itself together, the rest of the world fell apart.
Needless to say, it's a poetically perfect place to find Metric's Giant Studios -- where they recorded their latest longplayer Synthetica -- considering the band's own rise over the same time span from a band of broken dreams to wildly popular and wildly independent success by chronicling the past decade's global turmoil.
If the band's career reflects the place they returned to in the fall of 2001, their music, from 2003's Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? onward, has mirrored the times we've all lived through -- beginning with their flight back home after a pair of towers fell in their previous Lower Manhattan 'hood.
"Old World was just straight-up pissed-off with no reverb," lead singer Emily Haines tells Spinner, "and I was personally miserable at that time because my dad died the day we finished Old World and then I went on tour."
On the road, Haines would go on increasingly dark digressions during "Dead Disco," a song that featured a different rant each night, culminating in a legendary 24-minute anti-Iraq War epic from 2004.
"One hundred thousand. Why are you