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album review | INDIE ROCK

Metric, ‘Synthetica’

The basic conceit of Metric frontwoman Emily Haines’s songwriting should not work. Melancholy and desolation don’t typically inspire you to dance as much as most Metric songs do. “Synthetica,” the Canadian rock band’s solid fifth album, begins the way the previous ones have: with a mission statement. “I’m just as [expletive] up as they say / I can’t fake the daytime / I found an entrance to escape into the dark,” Haines sings on “Artificial Nocturne” before the song jump-starts the whole record. “Synthetica” affirms what fans have loved about Metric: If the formula isn’t broken, don’t fix it. These songs adhere to Metric’s penchant for indie rock that’s both anthemic and angular, a rare combination. Taut and tense, “Speed the Collapse” is the band boiled down to nearly four minutes. “Clone” reminds us Haines can also write a shimmering ballad. Lou Reed’s surprise cameo on “The Wanderlust’’ puts some unlikely words in the rock iconoclast’s mouth: “Wanderlust will carry us on.” (Out Tuesday) JAMES REED

ESSENTIAL “Speed the Collapse”

Metric plays the Orpheum Theatre on Sept. 20.

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