July 10, 2012 - Howe
It’s somewhat misleading just to credit Metric for the music on the soundtrack of Cosmopolis, the film adaptation of author Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel. Although the Canadian synth-pop band performed the score, composer Howard Shore—the man responsible for the evocative music of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, among others—wrote the moody instrumentals; in addition, he co-wrote three new Metric tunes on the soundtrack with the band. (Plus, a bewitching trip-hop song from Somali musician K’Naan is even sandwiched near the end of the album.)
Metric’s Cosmopolis originals are very much in line with the apocalyptic, lost-in-space vibe and atmosphere-over-aggression bent of their latest album, Synthetica. “Long To Live” is haunted-mansion synth-pop reminiscent of Blonde Redhead, on which Emily Haines coos like ghost trapped in purgatory. “I Don’t Want To Wake Up” is a study in contrasts: Accessible, Joy Division-on-antidepressants keyboards clash with Haines’ voice, which is stretched and distorted into a thin, nearly indecipherable mew. The effect is desperate, yet somehow oddly uplifting. Better still is the sinewy “Call Me Home,” on which fragile-old-woman whispers add a sinister edge to the dank beats and sewer-creepy electronic effects.
This tune is closest in style to Cosmopolis’ score music. Akin to Nine Inch Nails’ instrumentals, these anxiety-ridden interstitials alternate between eerie silence and insistent beats, muted keyboard crescendos and moments of rock harshness. In Metric’s hands, these already-creepy textures are even more paranoid; they’re the sonic equivalent of feeling you’re being followed by someone, but you aren’t sure who they are—or where they might be.
Alluring and apprehensive, Cosmopolis is an engaging listen. A word of warning for Metric fans, though: The soundtrack’s instrumentals do tend to blend together, so anyone looking for a more structured album—or for more Emily Haines—should instead pick up Synthetica.