Album Reviews

Metric – Grow Up And Blow Away

(Gronland) UK release date: 5 November 2007

Even as they toil, encamped in Jesse Keeler’s Toronto studio, working feverishly on a brand new album, Metric material is coming thick and fast at your intrepid ears.

This, their first album, has been squirming in label-wrangle hell (a place as evil as it sounds) since it was first recorded around the turn of the century. Sounding promising already, right?

As is immediately apparent, Grow Up And Blow Away is aptly entitled: the sound is not a million miles from the finished, polished Metric product, even though the band themselves thought it dated and opted instead to eventually unleash Old World Underground as their breakthrough.

It doesn’t sound so old to me: okay, there is a more melodic quality to Emily Haines’ vocals, but far more licence is given to the band’s usually-subtle dub elements; a long-forgotten trait given prominence on Rock Me Now in particular.

Album opener and title track, Grow Up And Blow Away, embodies the album with its comparatively genteel disposition: an unrushed tempo, luscious harmonies and subtle satellite strums. Monster Hospital this is not.

The approach continues in Hardwire (with added piano), The Twist (with added chorister qualities) and On The Sly (with added urgency). Proceedings swerve, however, with the brilliant Soft Rock Star; a full-bloodied rally more in the vein of Metric’s later, angrier efforts.

As an added treat, perhaps, the sombre piano of White Gold provides an embryonic glimpse into Haines’ solo outings, as does London Halflife’s album-closing quality, all mourning reverberation.

An alternate mix to Soft Rock Star, moreover, is particularly reminiscent of a ’90s Alanis Morissette or Tori Amos rant, and, as such, a thoroughly enjoyable few minutes’ retrospection.

Grow Up is consistently very good, though perhaps not to the extent that it becomes essential for anyone other than their existing fan base. Even so, it remains an enviably accomplished debut, and an engrossing 39 minutes.

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