Bumbershoot Music Lounge: Metric

photos by Dave Lichterman
intro by Christy Thacker

Since dancing into the hearts of many at Bumbershoot four years ago, Metric has undergone some radical releases and revelations. After hopping between Toronto, Montreal, London, New York and Los Angeles, lead vocalist Emily Haines of the Canadian-based indie pop band finally settled down in Buenos Aires for some serious soul searching.

Haines confessed her life “sucked” during the years leading up to the long-awaited release of Fantasies. “Paralyzed” as a writer and scared she had no original material left, Haines Googled “room,” “piano,” and “rent” available in Argentina and dove deep into reflection about the essence of music, art and life. She concluded she was done writing complex songs about songs and needed Metric’s next album to be clear and simple, as it would dictate the next chapter of her and her band’s lives.

Haines finally made her way back to the Northwest to record Fantasies at Bear Creek Studio outside Seattle. Looks like her massive meditation paid off, as radio stations across the country ate up the raw, new single “Help, I’m Alive.” So far, Fantasies as a whole has received mixed reviews spanning from a “virtually flawless rock album” to a lukewarm indie record. However, most would agree, the new album sticks to Metric’s original synthed-out sound complete with retro, romanticized vocals.

For now, the four-piece band consisting of synthesizerist and keyboardist Haines, guitarist James Shaw, bassist Josh Winstead, and drummer Joules Scott-Key will continue to focus on simplicity as they beat the music world like a hammer, just like they did at the KEXP Music Lounge.

Haines and Shaw went raw with a special stripped down performance. Their originally dancey tunes like “Gold Girl Guns” and “Live It Out” became entirely new pieces, transformed by the minimalism of the duo. The serious piano, gentle guitar and haunting vocals truly brought Haine’s painful story to life. At the same time, her voiced exuded more hope and cheer than seems to be present in her latest album and earlier performances. Her joy was best illustrated during what she calls her “inner hippie” song, “Gimme Sympathy.” Grinning, Haines stepped away from the mic only to point it at the crowd who together sang the lines, “C’mon baby. Play me something like ‘Here Comes the Sun.’”

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