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:: Metric :: Hadouken ::
01 November 2006 / Club Academy (Academy 4) / Manchester
By James Hinchcliffe

HADOUKEN make an inauspicious start, to say the least, with some badly spat vocals being joined by mediocre backing, the whole thing evolving into some unholy hybrid of Madness and Goldie Lookin' Chain, something of a novelty act, at best - maybe the kind of thing that a middle-aged Hard-Fi loving producer on CD:UK might deem to be cutting edge. The singer's bark cum unwise rap (in a Mockney accent though they say they're from Leeds? Perhaps he isn't....) grates in the extreme and behind him is the most derivative, routine and depressing Kasabian indie/"punk" chug. But perhaps they have something lyrically or conversationally interesting to claw it all back a little? "This next song is about pulling birds with big tits". Go away, then.

METRIC is a band I confess have passed me by completely; their Canadian stock might just add a few dozen to the turnout at this moment in time but their clean and crisp indie rock - a tougher Blondie, maybe - shows them to be much more than fortunate scenesters with friends in currently cool places. Emily Haines is a slip of a lass but she cuts an entirely convincing frontwoman, a confident glare always present and with lively Karen O-esque sideways head shakes to accompany most of the driving guitar and drum sections. Vocally she manages the trick of being slightly breathy yet still utterly commanding. Her recent solo LP "Knives don't have your back" might be making great critical shakes just now (and making the boys somewhat jealous) but she's happy being part of the team here and well she might be; this is no one woman band - the boys play with a grandiose, pulsating feeling and no little flair. It's a very Gallic sound they have - perhaps not surprising given their origins - somewhat like The Stooges as imagined by Air, maybe, not dissimilar to Phoenix in some respects but with a bit more grit; all clean, ice blue lines and tight medium-fast guitar and keyboard riffs. But they're singularly unafraid to rock out when it's required and the songs seem to exponentially gain tempo and purpose as the show develops - perhaps a deliberate set selection ploy and certainly effective. Former NME-endorsed single and crowd favourite "Monster hospital" is kept til late and the raucous refrain of "I fought the war but the war won" fair bounces off the low Club Academy ceiling. No losers here though - slick, exciting rock/pop energy with enough hummable melodies to satisfy a fleet of milkmen emerges a comfortable winner.


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