On its 2003 debut, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?, Metric struck a balance between fashionably frayed postpunk and buoyant indie pop, carving out a comfortable niche between two self-consciously arty genres. Live It Out, the band's sophomore release, stands in sharp contrast to Where Are You Now?, whose ingratiating immediacy has been largely abandoned for churning guitars looming over sparkly keyboard lines. The aggressive tack suits Metric well only on occasion. With its martial drumbeat and shuddering guitar, "Glass Ceiling" approaches the strident angularity of that other celebrated female-fronted rock band, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Unfortunately Emily Haines doesn't possess the vulnerability of Karen O, who can imbue even the most crushingly loud chorus with a rare, delicate intimacy. Metric's gambit is admirable, but living out its rock-star fantasy needn't be so devoid of introspection.

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Jonathan Garrett