Album Reviews

Metric – Formentera

(Metric Music International) UK release date: 8 July 2022

Nearly two decades on since their debut, their eighth album finds Emily Haines and co still going from strength to strength

Metric - Formentera Formentera is Metric‘s first album for four years, after a career journey that has seen them evolve from raucous guitar indie-rock to smooth, icy, synth pop. As an opening statement of intent, it doesn’t come much more ambitious than the first track on their eighth studio album, Doomscroller.

For Doomscroller is what they term an ‘epic’. It’s over 10 minutes long, and over the length of its running time goes from sleek electronica, evolves into a full-on rave style anthem, then pulls back into a Coldplay-esque ballad, before breaking out the guitars to create a racket of an ending. When you add in lyrics referencing QAnon and the “ruling classes trickling piss from champagne glasses”, it feels like the perfect musical summation of our chaotic, broken down society – a soundtrack to dance to while the world burns.

It’s a breathless, audacious opener to Formentera, but it seems a strange choice to lead the album. If ever there was a song which would make for the ultimate conclusion for an album, it’s a genre-hopping ‘state of the world’ address like Doomscroller which screams “follow that”. And, as it’s the introduction to the record, the rest of the album does indeed have to follow that.

It would, of course, be exhausting if the entirety of the album was full of such epics, and the rest of Formentera settles down into a more traditional Metric album. It’s a natural step from 2018’s Art Of Doubt – it’s dominated by a smooth synth sound, but there are plenty of little surprises bubbling under the surface. Some tracks feel like real floor-filling club bangers, and sometimes it goes quirky and introspective, a la Let’s Eat Grandma.

Lead single All Comes Crashing is an early highlight, with Emily Haines‘ traditionally cool and detached vocals about finding love in a chaotic world. I Will Never Settle is another standout, a big shimmering ballad which forms the centrepiece of the album, while the title track employs dramatic, swooping strings before unfolding into a lovely, twinkly anthem. While the hooks of earlier tracks like Monster Hospital or Dead Disco may be missing, it’s undeniable how impressive it sounds.

Oh Please does sound like a throwback to the early days of the band, a swaggering number with Jimmy Shaw’s guitar ringing out magnificently. Sometimes the tempo is taken down a bit, as in the subdued Enemies In The Ocean (at least until it kicks up a gear towards the end), but Formentera is at its best when the band cut loose – the euphoric rush of False Dichotomy being a fine example.

Next year, it will be 20 years since Metric released their debut album Old World Underground, Where Are You Now. Two decades on, Formentera sees the band still going from strength to strength, evolving their sound as time goes on, while retaining all the elements which make them such an enjoyable listen.

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