The Austin Chronicle

Phases & Stages

Record review

Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, October 21, 2005, Music


Live It Out (Last Gang)

While the mothership – Broken Social Scene – disguises its jam act in marching band outfits, orbiting Toronto quartet Metric dons an altogether sexier antecedent: Blondie. They're tight as Debbie Harry's dresses circa 1978. 2003 debut Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? was deceptively stiff, Emily Haines' front chick insouciance and the band's pinpoint New Wave masking herky-jerky material. Problem mostly solved. Jimmy Shaw's guitar rips opener "Empty," resurrecting Nineties femme fatales like Belly and the Breeders, while his bullying swagger shivers follow-up "Glass Ceiling," Haines' stonewall vox verging on the gothic. Frenching "Poster of a Girl" approximates her own lyric ("coming in your pants for the off-chance with a poster of a girl"). The duo's endlessly sympathetic, Shaw's no-frills structures always in service of Haines and her neon keys ("Handshakes"). It hardly takes more than a deadly Haines verse and Shaw's muscled melodies to Live It Out. Once again this camouflages upbeat tossers ("Monster Hospital"), midtempo demos ("Too Little Too Late"), and musty Victrola players ("Ending Start"), but even those tickle the ear with stainless steel sonics. The title cut closer never quite catches. Live It Out is no Plastic Letters, but still, we're always touched by your presence, dear. (Metric jolts the Parish Friday, Nov. 11.)


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