Live it Out

(Last Gang; 2005)

By Julie Fylstra, lightly edited by David Greenwald | 13 October 2005

My boyfriend, David Greenwald, listens to a lot of indie rock. A lot. I’m no music geek, but in all honesty I think most of it sounds the same. He’s always coming to me gesticulating wildly and raving over some new album, which sounds exactly like the last album he was ready to shit himself over. I don’t really get it; how many sad white males playing acoustic guitar can somebody listen to? At least M.I.A. was fun. He thought since I liked Broken Social Scene, I might be into this new Metric album. I didn’t really know who they were, but once I listened to it I liked it so much that I asked him if I could give his cool indie “rawk” review job a shot.

Live It Out is Metric’s second album, and no, they don’t really sound anything like Broken Social Scene. Singer Emily Haines and bassist/producer Jimmy Shaw are members of the Toronto collective (I wonder if that makes them like Panda Bear Collective or whoever that weird band is), with Haines taking a star turn on the pretty “Swimmers,” but this album is more of a straight-ahead follow-up to their debut, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? The guitars are louder (Dave says to use the word “scorching” here; I don't know, I think he uses just enough adjectives), the songs are a little more complex, and so the band walks a tightrope between power-pop and rawk. “Handshakes” is particularly heavy, at least for Metric; “That’s entertainment,” Haines sings at one point, and along with the guitars and her riot grrrrl posturing, it sounds a lot like those Sleater-Kinney girls. Other than that, this is Metric --- the riffs are catchy and slightly distorted, Haines’ lyrics are clever and her voice is instantly likeable.

From what I know about Old World Underground, it had one big question (“Where are you now?”) and Live It Out seems to be a search as well. Themed (like a sorority date party!) with the weighty idea of surviving, even triumphing over life’s difficulties, many of the songs start out more cynical and pessimistic that I was expecting. “Poster Of A Girl” finds Haines sympathizing with girls who “fill in the blanks / looking on the bright side / when there is no bright side,” before the song erupts into a seemingly contradictory disco breakdown (actually, I think I mean “syncopated dance-punk"). “Police And The Private” is cute, keeping attention on Haines’ voice and a keyboard line to disguise the comparatively dark lyrics once again: “keep one eye on the door / keep one eye on the bed / never expect to be sure who you’re working for.”

The album concludes with its title track, a bombastic rocker that offers some positivity. It’s careening and energetic and exciting, and I’m surprised my boyfriend actually listens to a band who doesn’t fade into the wallpaper like all the rest. Live It Out is a really solid album, without any real weaknesses or things to criticize. I guess that’s why my wonderful boyfriend Dave had me write the review.