Despite the critical acclaim, the vast-and-growing fan base, the adoration heaped upon the band's debut, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?, Montreal's Metric has led a troubled existence the past few years. Shifted by record labels, managers and bad wisdom from Quebec to the U.K. to New York to L.A. and dozens of points in between, the band has been groundless. And on Live It Out, Metric has unleashed these years shoved around by the industry into a set of songs as confidently angry as Old World was angst-fueled; riddled with gob-hurling statements where Old World had cow-eyed questions.
Live It Out -- its very title a declaration of live-sound rock and survivalist instinct -- is stripped down and filled with rejections of many of the modern-mod sounds Metric embraced previously. There are still the occasional synth swirls and dance-rock beats that drew the band into trend, such as on the melancholy Francophonic New Order sound of "Poster of a Girl" or the new-romanticism of "Police and the Private" -- a gorgeous blue-eyed pop-soul venture worthy of, say, some lettered band (ABC? OMD?) at its best.
But the centerpiece and signature tune on Live It Out is "Monster Hospital," on which Emily Haines' angry vocals join guitar-and-toms breakdowns like Penelope Houston's Avengers: sexually charged, forceful, and pissed as all hell. ("I fought the war, but the war won.") The new Metric: Surrounded by loud guitars and rollicking drums, Metric doesn't need a home, a manager or a label, just three chords and ... well, you know. Even at its quietest, Live It Out finds time to console the suicidal, rather than joining their ranks: "You can burn your paper fingers in the ashtray / place your swollen lips on mine / You can shave your heavy head on my carpeted hallway / sure for the first time you're wearing the right clothes." That's po-mo solace you can bank on.