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Even real places become imaginary when they are so far out of reach. Named for an idyllic island near Ibiza off the coast of Spain, Formentera is a place that, for Metric, only existed on a page in a “dream destinations” travel book that lay open on a desk in the new recording studio that guitarist Jimmy Shaw built in 2020, in a rural hamlet north of Toronto. This is the setting where the band’s eighth album took shape. Shaw brought on Synthetica collaborator Liam O’Neil as well as longtime friend Gus van Go (The Stills) to co-engineer and co-produce with him. When the border opened, Metric bassist Joshua Winstead and drummer Joules Scott Key came in from the U.S to record, adding live energy and sonic depth to complete the Metric sound.
The result is a conceptual arc that progresses from tension and turmoil to dance-floor abandon, beginning with the edgy ten-minute album opener “Doomscroller,” and progressing through a color wheel of emotions, from determined perseverance on “What Feels Like Eternity” to self-emancipation in full orchestral bloom on the title track as Haines poses the question, “Why not just let go?” There’s a sense of resolution in the very matter-of-fact, deceptively catchy “False Dichotomy,” and the album ends on a melancholy high with “Paths in the Sky,” a love song to lifelong friendship, a thematic companion track to “All Comes Crashing,” an end-of-days banger and the first single.
“This is what we’re all thinking about,” Haines says. “So let’s address it, let’s have this whole expansive emotional experience that can feel collective instead of all going through it alone.”