Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Metric explore the illusion of control via the thrilling Formentera


Release date: 08 July 2022
Metric formentera art
07 July 2022, 20:58 Written by Simon Heavisides
Most bands don’t get far enough to face the challenge of what to do when you’ve reached your twenty-fifth anniversary and the approach to adopt on that tricky eighth album.

But for the relatively rare few who do it’s quite a conundrum. Do you fall back on what you suspect your hardcore fans love or maybe fudge it by releasing an acoustic album or even record some old favourites with an orchestra? Or, for the brave, take that much harder and less travelled route: developing your sound without losing your audience? The well worn music biz maxim of ‘give them more of the same’ while risking boredom seems more likely to pay the bills, but at what cost artistically?

Well, with Formentera Metric tear up the map and head for the hills – and it is not an acoustic album.

Naming your new record after an idyllic Spanish island could be a sign of wishing for a way to pull out of the slo-mo car crash that is the modern world but one thing is clear, many of these songs do a pretty good job of reminding us of the need for such an escape.

Metric serve notice of the new order with the thrilling anxiety dream of “Doomscroller”, a ten minute monster that churns through throbbing electro beats, dials down into plaintive introspection and back up again before it’s anthemic climax collapses in a heap of strummed chords and random bleeps. Following this with a song called, “All Comes Crashing” suggests Metric have been losing sleep over the last couple of years and who can blame them?

But then the title track seems to suggest some relief, with its soothing synths and sweeping strings. Indeed, as the album progresses there’s a sense of the band drawing, if not on actual optimism, then at least a deep, warm elegiac weariness that’s belied by the outwardly uptempo mood and the blissed out surface feel of a song like the dryly titled, “Oh Please” or the sweetly chiming closer “Paths in the Sky”.

In a recent interview vocalist and keyboardist Emily Haines spoke of “our illusion of control”, when in reality an individual’s scope of power is painfully limited. It’s the possible liberation you get from acceptance of this unavoidable fact that may allow Formentera to confront reality but avoid despair.

In the end this feels like a record made by people seeking hope and escape while – like many of their audience – secretly doubting everything. It's fertile inspiration for music that twists Metric’s signature sound into new shapes that seem a good fit for the psychic terrain of the supposed swinging 2020s.

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