Intense, up-tempo indie rock and synth pop
Rock band Metric’s latest studio release Art of Doubt is a fast-paced, high energy swing through the indie rock and synth pop genres. Art of Doubt effectively mixes catchy hooks and up-tempo beats that make for songs you just want to dance to, along with thoughtful lyricism and raw emotion.
When listening to Art of Doubt, it’s clear that Metric know the equation for writing a hit. The album is oozing with smooth synth hooks, melodic guitar riffs that range from edgy and overdriven to delicate and arpeggiated and catchy electronic drum beats that are impossible not to tap along with. It’s apparent from listening to this album that Metric’s live shows are likely a dynamic, intense and entertaining experience. It’s not hard to imagine multiple tracks from Art of Doubt–“Now or Never,” “Dressed To Suppress” and “Dark Saturday” to name a few–succeeding as commercial radio hits.
Metric effectively straddles the line between hard, guitar-centric indie rock and elegant, melodic synth pop throughout the record. Tracks like “Dark Saturday,” “Die Happy” and the title track “Art of Doubt” showcase the band’s down-the-middle, no-frills indie rock tendencies. These songs are carried primarily by unforgettable guitar riffs that infuse the styles of modern rock bands such as Arctic Monkeys and The Black Keys. “Dark Saturday” stands out with its raspy, harsh lead guitar tone backed by a simple but driving beat that makes for a catchy, up-tempo song that gets Art of Doubt off to a quick start. The title track offers a dark, arpeggiated riff and a nice switch to double time in the chorus along with angsty, screaming vocals for a weighty, moody tune that stands out as one of the album’s best.
On the other hand, “Now or Never,” “Underline the Black” and “Anticipate” bring Metric’s synth pop influences to the forefront. These songs have a more full, textured sound that is thick and multilayered but not busy or bloated. “Underline the Black” has a fun, memorable intro that catches the listener off guard by dropping the floor out from underneath them and transitioning into a soft, stripped-down verse that gradually builds back up. Things open up nicely in the chorus, and it plays like the type of song that would get a live audience going. “Now or Never” is a fun, catchy song that will be a hit with synth pop fans, though it does meander on for almost six and a half minutes.
It’s easy to get lost in the diversity and depth of the instrumentation throughout Art of Doubt, but thought-provoking lyrics are also one of the album’s strengths. “Holding Out” finds the narrator lamenting when it will be her time to “be the one” as a story of rambunctious romance unfurls itself. In addition, the line in the chorus, “You can’t just scroll through pictures and hide” makes the song feel like a commentary on the times. “No Lights on the Horizon,” the final track on the record, showcases some of Metric’s best lyricism. The song is emotional and brutally honest, starting right off the bat by saying “It’s true / I’m flawed / It’s all my fault.” The narrator continues to lay her soul bare for the listener, and this is reflected nicely by stripping away the vocal effects present through much of the album and replacing them with a simpler, rawer version of lead singer Emily Haines’ voice. The line “No lights on the horizon / No sign of what’s ahead” makes the narrator feel human and relatable, as listeners can empathize with this feeling of uncertainty and anxiety. Musically, the song has a nice, ambient build that culminates in a triumphant sounding swell that serves as a fitting note to end on.
Overall, Art of Doubt is a quality album. There are a few forgettable tracks and dull moments, and some songs carry on for perhaps a minute or two too long, but there are more than enough memorable tracks and potential hits to make Art of Doubt a worthwhile listen for synth pop and indie rock fans.