On their fifth album, the Toronto band lead by indie kid heart throb Emily Haines chase down the ghost in the machine and try to identify what’s real in an increasingly articial and virtual world.

It’s an interesting concept but too often Metric lack the songs to back up their thesis. Haines does her best feline purr and guitarist and producer Jimmy Shaw provides the snappy guitars and icy synths on Artificial Nocturne which builds up quite a head of black billowing smoke and ends with a bleed out of white noise.

Recent single Youth without Youth, is a great mix of glam rock stomp and menace and Haines also proves her talent for an arresting couplet ("double Dutch with a hand grenade") but it’s hard not to see Wanderlust, a half-assed duet between notorious grouch Lou Reed and a sugary Haines, as anything other than a novelty which barely warrants being called a collaboration.

Synthetica is a so-so mix of austere new wave detachment and manic pop thrills. Garbage without the sneer and The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs without the smarts.

Alan Corr