Emily Haines and her band don’t hold back in their new album Synthetica. Not lyrically, not musically, and certainly not artistically. Overall it is a worthy successor to their groundbreaking Fantasies released back in 2009.
Let’s talk about what it isn’t: Synthetica is neither a re-hash of Fantasies nor a collection of “lost” songs thrown together and called a new album. It’s obvious the thought that went into creating each track, as they stand on their own individually while also flowing into one another in a full-album play through.
Their first single “Youth Without Youth” took some getting used to. It didn’t have the same depth lyrically as other songs. But once you memorized the beat and song, it grew on you. The flowing ballad of “Speed the Collapse” is a dark, stormy song full of Haines’ beautiful melodies and a powerhouse chorus that will leave you breathless.
“Lost Kitten” is the most surprising track of them all, being something of a pop song without being that simple. It shows off Haines’ vocal range and is a nice break from the relatively dark tracks that precede it. Their title track “Synthetica” is catchy and far less dark than some of the other tracks. Rather their use of synthesized notes and a constant electric guitar evoke something of their neon-lit, electric inspiration Blade Runner.
Haines’ described Synthetica as being, “about forcing yourself to confront what you see in the mirror when you finally stand still long enough to catch a reflection. Synthetica is about being able to identify the original in a long line of reproductions. It’s about what is real vs what is artificial.”