Metric | Buzz Meter
METRIC ARE ON THEIR SEVENTH ALBUM, AND THEIR SUCCESSES HAVE TAKEN THEM ALL OVER THE WORLD, but singer and songwriter Emily Haines says that their new album, Art of Doubt, is kind of a “holy grail” for the Canadian rockers.
The album is a representation of Metric’s different sides: confrontational rock, urgent synth-pop and blooming electronic ballads. That being said, even this far into their career, it wasn’t the easiest process to define the band’s identity when they set out to make it.
This time out, for Art of Doubt, producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Nine Inch Nails) took the reins from guitarist-producer Jimmy Shaw (who has at least co-produced all their albums since 2005’s Live It Out). Meldal-Johnsen saw the band in their early days, when they were playing at the Silverlake Lounge in L. A., and the band trusted his vision, given that he’s known them for 15 years. “It’s like your friends and family,” Haines says. “They know you the best. You cut your hair weird — they’re just like, ‘No! I know you!’ It really felt like that with [Justin].”
Within these songs, Haines situates her writing in what is a “really complex time, socially, politically and environmentally.” She uses album track “Die Happy,” with its glittering jam of a chorus, to express that “it has to be fun, because I don’t know what else it can be. And it seems to be that that’s this sort of spirit, because [of] the backdrop that we’re existing in as we ask all these questions — a time of unprecedented wealth and ostentatious expression of that.”
Her awareness of the band’s place in their fans’ lives, and the story they have developed, frames the importance of what Art of Doubt has to offer. “For those who’ve been with us, there’s a meaning and there is a story, and there is a trajectory there. There really is us living our lives in tandem with other people. It’s not like we just flash in and flash out. It’s sort of a consistent presence in people’s lives.
“And all these explorations, like on [2015’s Pagans in Vegas] — no guitars, and really embracing electronic music, playing arenas — all of [that] stuff has been essential to the growth of the band, but it was so amazing to find ourselves.”