Blaring guitars, pounding drums. You wouldn’t expect to be listening to Metric’s new album, Art of Doubt, if you have been listening to their recent electronic pop album Pagans in Vegas. The first song on their new album, “Dark Saturday” has a heavy rock rhythm and feel, leading the listener to believe Art of Doubt is going in a much more hard rock direction, but then softens right away. The next song, “Love You Back,” begins with repeated “La”s but in a decently rock manner. It then has a strong drum beat and pop melody, a nice preview for the direction the album is really going.
The last song “No Lights on the Horizon” is probably the lightest and cheeriest melody of all. It has a nice floating vibe which matches the lyrical content about an ambiguous future. The framework of the album with a hard rock beginning to an electronic soft pop end is a good representation of the variation within Art of Doubt.
The album gradually softens and messes around in the directions of pop such as in “Holding Out,” 80’s synth rock as in “Now or Never Now,” and electronic as in “Anticipate,” all within the indie rock overarching genre. The combination is epitomized by their song “Underline the Black” which has only vocalist Emily Haines, an electric guitar, and occasional background vocals that builds to a nicely varied and arranged melody including guitar solos.
The use of guitar is particularly interesting because their last few albums have been more electronic leaning with guitar sparsely dispersed. Nearly every song on Art of Doubt has moderate to heavy usage of guitar that definitely contributes to their overall sound, which still includes the emotional pop lyrics characterized by their newer albums.
Haines’s high and distinctive voice was one of the main forces that unified the album despite the many different styles within. She is the singer, keyboardist, and songwriter, so truly the leading force behind the band. The only criticism I have is that within the songs the direction and vocals sometimes become somewhat stagnant. The beginning of each is a whole new ride, but by the end of their longer than usual songs, some had become a little boring.
Metric has always been a powerful female led group, but Art of Doubt takes them another step further in confidence, rock, and variation between songs, though some transitions within songs would be a wonderful addition.