Metro4
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Metro4

London, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

London, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Pop Rock

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"Metro4 - Day One"

Artist: Metro4
Album: Day One
Review by Alex Henderson


Metro4’s publicity bio describes them as a group that “brings a rare European vibe,” but perhaps a more accurate way to describe them would be as “a group that successfully draws on an appealing variety of North American and European influences.” Indeed, the melodic and hooky alternative-pop rock that Metro4 (who are based in London, Ontario, Canada) provide on their album Day One draws inspiration from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. There are Irish influences (namely U2) and British influences (Coldplay, Radiohead, Keane), but there are also American influences (R.E.M., the Gin Blossoms, the Goo Goo Dolls, Interpol). Granted, R.E.M. and Interpol are both examples of American bands with very British-influenced sounds; the fact that R.E.M. came from Athens, Georgia in the Deep South didn’t mean that they weren’t greatly affected by the Beatles, the Yardbirds and other British Invasion rockers of the 1960s. And the fact that Interpol came from New York City didn’t mean that they weren’t big admirers of bands from the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, Day One is definitely an album that, stylistically, has one foot in North America and the other in Europe (specifically, the British Isles). And when it comes to hooks, Metro4 get the job done on Day One.

This 42-minute CD gets off to a memorable start with the opener “Disease,” which pulls the listener right in with its hookiness and its melodic power pop instincts. And Metro4’s creative momentum doesn’t let up after that; their sense of melody and appreciation of strong pop-rock hooks serve them well whether the track is “Sheltered,” “Nomad,” “Sink Away” or “Getaway.” Saying that Day One has a lot of power pop appeal is not to say that Metro4 are offering escapist party music on this 2011 release. Actually, Day One is a very introspective album; it’s a long way from party music and is not lighthearted by any means. “Something to Doubt,” “Sheltered” and “Waiting” have the sort of pop-rock immediacy and accessibility one expects from power pop, but they aren’t fun and frivolous in the way that power pop has often been fun and frivolous; lyrically, they are quite reflective and serious-minded. And lead singer Jason Mercer, with his Michael Stipe-ish vocal style, is perfect for all this introspection (Stipe is known for his many years as R.E.M.’s frontman). When Mercer is performing “Sin and Redemption,” “Going Under,” “Pride” or “It’s Never Easy,” there is no doubt that he is emotionally invested in this material. Mercer never sounds like he is merely going through the motions or punching a time clock; he always sounds focused and performs Metro4’s lyrics like he really means them.

Another important ingredient of Metro4’s sound is guitarist Daniel Di Febo, who is obviously a big admirer of U2’s The Edge. Over the years, The Edge has shown himself to be a very distinctive and recognizable guitarist; The Edge can play only a few notes, and it is obvious that one is listening to The Edge. It is also obvious when a guitarist admires The Edge, which Di Febo clearly does. However, the U2 influence on Day One isn’t limited to The Edge’s guitar playing; U2’s songs have affected Metro4’s songwriting. But while that U2 influence is an attractive part of Metro4’s sound, so is the influence of R.E.M.; so are the Coldplay and Gin Blossoms elements in their music. And when all is said and done, Metro4 don’t sound like they are consciously emulating anyone; they have their influences and inspirations, certainly, but they have their own sound and are an engaging alternative pop-rock band in their own right.

Day One is a promising, nicely executed album from this Canadian foursome, who are well worth checking out.

Review by Alex Henderson
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
- Ariel Publicity


""Metro4 launches new album Day One""

The spring of 2011 has brought a flowering of fine albums, always a mark of the London A&E universe unfolding as it should. Keep producing these beauties, London, and you will rawk the world.

Metro4's fine new album, "Day One," is among these spring pleasures of 2011. It's a team effort. The London four-piece comprises bassist Daniel Dubé, lead vocalist and guitarist Jason Mercer, guitarist and vocalist Daniel Di Febo and drummer and vocalist Ryan Kriz. Metro4 launches "Day One" at Rumrunners Saturday.

"We felt this is the Metro4 that always was meant to be. So it's like 'Day One,' this is where it begins," Mercer says of the band's album title and purpose.

Metro4 has always made hot sounds. The departure of keyboard player Adam Plante has left the band with a more guitar-centred sound.

"Day One" takes the band into a new era.

Mercer is writing more lyrics.

"It became my duty which I love. For me it's like my own voice is being heard more than singing someone else's lyrics," Mercer says.

An admirer of "Day One" suggests Mercer's words and Metro4's music seem to be about a quest, perhaps an inner search.

"You're exactly right... a lot of them are songs about the human condition," Mercer says. "There's definitely some songs about faith and questioning faith."

Titles such as "Nomad," "Sin & Redemption," "Sheltered," and "Getaway" are part of the album's survey of the human condition.

Sure, some of the songs are serious. But they always rock the way Metro4 songs should.

Metro4's four different talents emerged as one unit over six years and several lineups. Kriz, a St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic secondary school grad, and Mercer, a London Central grad, met in an innovative class at UWO's Don Wright music faculty. Switzerland-raised Di Febo arrived in Canada as a flamenco player. While studying at UWO, he took up electric guitar and effects. Dubé has ties to the Montreal area and gives the band a second francophone along with Di Febo.

For a couple years, Metro4 has talked about doing a song in French. "That is still a work in progress. It's just a translation away," Mercer says.

The songs that did make it to "Day One" were sharpened by sessions with engineer and co-producer Siegfried Meier at his Goderich area Beach Road Studios. Then, Juno-winner Dan Brodbeck of London mixed "Day One." Those two aces are right in tune with Metro4, who are "Day One's" co-producers.

The band's name suggests "metropolitan" because members have ties to such diverse places as Switzerland, Spain, Montreal and Windsor. The number '4' is also a pun, it turns out. The band has four members but pronouncing 'four' with a francophone twist makes it a play on 'fort.' That's "strong" in French. So Metropolitan as in sophisticated-and strong as in rock. Not a bad combination.

Sounds, as I may have said here before, like London. - The London Free Press


"Local Band Hits Reset - Metro4 set to launch second album"

Although their new independent album is the second in their repertoire, the appropriately titled "Day One" seems like a new beginning for London alt-rockers Metro4.

Particularly for lead singer Jason Mercer.

An experienced singer/songwriter, Mercer joined the band three years ago just before Metro4's self-titled debut in 2009 had them opening for the likes of Stone Temple Pilots and Our Lady Peace.

He shared songwriting duties with original drummer Quentin Lewcock until Lewcock parted ways with the group and was replaced by Ryan Kriz partway through recording the first album. Although Lewcock's lyrical influence still exists on some of the older tracks on Day One, Mercer said he has enjoyed taking over the songwriting reins the past two years.

"Some of the content definitely changed," Mercer said, "I do feel (Day One) is more my voice. It was definitely a chance, doing a full-length album, to take the reins. Its more meaningful if you've written the lyrics and you're singing them."

After producing a lot of their first album themselves, Metro4 also took the opportunity to work more closely with Juno award-winning producer Dan Brodbeck.

With the changes in lineup and production, "Day One" seemed like a good title for the album.

"It's like (we're) a new band (with) new, fresh songs," Mercer said. "It's sort of like day one for the band. And were hoping this album is going to do some big things. For us its like a hopeful promise to ourselves."

But Metro4 hasn't strayed too far from their melodic alternative roots, sticking close to a sound that likens them to Euro rockers U2 and Coldplay.

"I think it still has the same tone as before," Mercer said. "A lot of the melodies are still very powerful and I don't think it's changed a lot."

With a bit more production though, Mercer said the band is excited about how the new album sounds compared to their first effort.

"We definitely moved forward," he said. "The sound is a lot more mature. It's definitely a more polished sound. I would say its tighter sounding."

The first single is expected to be "Going Under," and fans will get a chance to hear some of the new material when Metro4 which also includes Daniel Di Febo on guitar and Danny Dubé on bass launches "Day One" April 23rd at Rum Runners in the London Music Hall. - The Londoner


"Local Band Hits Reset - Metro4 set to launch second album"

Although their new independent album is the second in their repertoire, the appropriately titled "Day One" seems like a new beginning for London alt-rockers Metro4.

Particularly for lead singer Jason Mercer.

An experienced singer/songwriter, Mercer joined the band three years ago just before Metro4's self-titled debut in 2009 had them opening for the likes of Stone Temple Pilots and Our Lady Peace.

He shared songwriting duties with original drummer Quentin Lewcock until Lewcock parted ways with the group and was replaced by Ryan Kriz partway through recording the first album. Although Lewcock's lyrical influence still exists on some of the older tracks on Day One, Mercer said he has enjoyed taking over the songwriting reins the past two years.

"Some of the content definitely changed," Mercer said, "I do feel (Day One) is more my voice. It was definitely a chance, doing a full-length album, to take the reins. Its more meaningful if you've written the lyrics and you're singing them."

After producing a lot of their first album themselves, Metro4 also took the opportunity to work more closely with Juno award-winning producer Dan Brodbeck.

With the changes in lineup and production, "Day One" seemed like a good title for the album.

"It's like (we're) a new band (with) new, fresh songs," Mercer said. "It's sort of like day one for the band. And were hoping this album is going to do some big things. For us its like a hopeful promise to ourselves."

But Metro4 hasn't strayed too far from their melodic alternative roots, sticking close to a sound that likens them to Euro rockers U2 and Coldplay.

"I think it still has the same tone as before," Mercer said. "A lot of the melodies are still very powerful and I don't think it's changed a lot."

With a bit more production though, Mercer said the band is excited about how the new album sounds compared to their first effort.

"We definitely moved forward," he said. "The sound is a lot more mature. It's definitely a more polished sound. I would say its tighter sounding."

The first single is expected to be "Going Under," and fans will get a chance to hear some of the new material when Metro4 which also includes Daniel Di Febo on guitar and Danny Dubé on bass launches "Day One" April 23rd at Rum Runners in the London Music Hall. - The Londoner


"Metro4 - Day One"

Although the group was formed several years ago and this is not their debut recording, London-based Metro4 see this release as a new beginning, hence the title, "Day One." Co-produced by Siegfried Meier at Beach Road Studios and mixed by Dan Brodbeck, Day One contains 12 hot original compositions that perfectly highlight the kind of tight cohesion lead vocalist/guitarist Jason Mercer, guitarist Daniel Di Febo, bassist Danny Dubé, and drummer Ryan Kriz have achieved over time. Grounded in straight-ahead rock and pop, Day One's highlights include tales of sad goodbyes ('Sin & Redemption'), problem relationships ('Disease'), and one-sided love ('Pride'). Very well done. - SCENE Magazine


"Metro4 - Day One"

Although the group was formed several years ago and this is not their debut recording, London-based Metro4 see this release as a new beginning, hence the title, "Day One." Co-produced by Siegfried Meier at Beach Road Studios and mixed by Dan Brodbeck, Day One contains 12 hot original compositions that perfectly highlight the kind of tight cohesion lead vocalist/guitarist Jason Mercer, guitarist Daniel Di Febo, bassist Danny Dubé, and drummer Ryan Kriz have achieved over time. Grounded in straight-ahead rock and pop, Day One's highlights include tales of sad goodbyes ('Sin & Redemption'), problem relationships ('Disease'), and one-sided love ('Pride'). Very well done. - SCENE Magazine


""Metro4 finds its groove with diverse blend of rockers.""

Sat, June 6, 2009
By JAMES REANEY
The London Free Press

Metro4 used to go through singers the way Spinal Tap went through drummers. Well, the singers didn't die upon departing the London rock band. There were at least three of them, one of them with classical abilities, before the jam-happy lineup settled on London Central grad Jason Mercer. "Just through experimentation they stumbled across me. I guess I fit the bill to be able to voice the band, which is nice," Mercer says.

The band's name suggests "metropolitan" because members have ties to such diverse places as Switzerland, Montreal and Windsor. The first lineups emerged about four years ago and went through three singers before vocalist No. 4 and the right voice emerged. "It's definitely a distinct sound. A lot of people that have heard our music say there's some kind of European influence to it, but you can't really pinpoint what that is," says Mercer who uses "alternative" as a label for Metro4's sound. "Depending on the context, it's alternative to normal rock that you would hear. It's not just straightforward rock." ??

Mercer's arrival helped get things moving. "It just clicked. Our first gig was great and it just took off from there," Mercer says, looking back about two years.

Some of the songs being heard tonight when the band launches its self-titled album at Call the Office were waiting for Mercer's move. "I said, 'We gotta get out and play and finish these recordings,' " he says. "Some of the recordings were done. I just had to record some vocals over top of them and do some guitar work on top of what was already done." Mercer had been playing solo acoustic gigs in London before joining. Drummer and St. Thomas Aquinas grad Ryan Kriz grew up in the Windsor area and then moved to London. Kriz and Mercer met in an innovative class at UWO's Don Wright music faculty. "We're in the popular music studies program at Western," Mercer says of Kriz. "He joined the band about a year after me." The classmates are in the lineup with Swiss guitarist and backup vocalist Daniel Di Febo, who arrived in Canada as a flamenco player. While studying at UWO, Di Febo took up electric guitar and effects. He has family in Switzerland, Spain and Italy. Keyboard player Adam Plante has London ties. His private home studio was one place where the group recorded. Will Haas's Willyboy Studios in northwest London is the other. Goderich's Siegfried Meier mixed the album at his Beach Road Studios. Another drummer, former Metro4 member Quentin Lewcock, is heard on much of the album and also contributed lyrics. Bassist Danny Dube has ties to the Montreal area and gives the band a second francophone along with Di Febo. Metro4 has talked about working on a song in French. "It'd take a bit of practice," says Mercer, who admits to needing to scrub up his pronunciation if that is going to happen.
- The London Free Press


""Metro4 Rocks Bayfest""

Metro4 has performed a number of significant concerts recently but none bigger than their opening slot at Sarnia Bayfest on July 11 opening for See Spot Run, Our Lady Peace, and Stone Temple Pilots. Indeed, the band was thrilled to be part of such a prestigious event.

"We applied to play Bayfest through Sonicbids and got narrowed down from a bunch of bands. As things progressed, the organizers contacted us about the details of the show," said vocalist/guitarist Jason Mercer. "The audience was extremely responsive to our tunes, even though we were the "unkown" band of the night. In the VIP section, I even saw a woman trying to sing along to one of our songs - our single, 'Little Sister' - very cool to see. It was also nice to see some fans bring big "Metro4" signs to the show - we could see them from the stage being held up from people all the way back in the General Licensed area. After the show, we talked to some press and joined the crowd for Our Lady Peace and Stone Temple Pilots. Then... we partied the night away!" - SCENE Magazine


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

We can yell and scream,
And gesture as we please.
Be right there in the faces
Of the ones who know to dream.

These are four people who know to dream. Every time they practice, rehearse, perform, they are living out a dream. A dream of making music, playing live, feeling the words and sounds with each passing frame. Creating. It’s a passion. The lyrics above are the words of Metro4’s song, Day One. And from Day One, it has been about nothing but the music. It didn’t matter where the eclectic group was from: Montreal, Switzerland, Windsor, or places more local. This London, Ontario-based band is, itself, a mixed-tape—metropolitan you might say—but they come together and create undeniable chemistry in their sound and shows. They understand each other, where to take their music and their fans, and how to get there. Not directions, but their collective feelings, guide them.

So how did this tight-knit group come to be? With humble beginnings in after-school jam sessions, French teachers Daniel Di Febo (guitars) and Danny Dubé (bass) eventually landed the lead vocalist they’d been searching for, Jason Mercer, on MySpace. Soon after, drummer Ryan Kriz rounded-out the foursome, but the rest is far from history. As their song Nomad states: “I'm a long-term project, a true ‘work-in-progress.’” With their first album released in June of 2009, a second album released this April 2011, and a third in the works, Metro4 is a band in motion. And they are moving fast. Already opening for acts like Stone Temple Pilots, Our Lady Peace, Sass Jordan, The Trews and Sloan, they have accomplished big things in their short time together.

With an alternative feel inspired by the likes of Keane, Interpol, Coldplay, U2 and Genesis, the group brings a rare European vibe. They pack emotion into their collaboratively written, powerful lyrics and bring a tight, energetic live show that they simply love performing. Light at heart but deep in substance, you may not dance, but you will certainly feel.

“We don’t write songs with the intention that people will dance as we perform it. Artistic credibility is more important to us than making a ‘hit record’. The things in life that inspire us individually come out – somehow – in our music, and, thankfully, it’s resonating with our fans,” Mercer said.

And so, from that classroom on Day One, the group has now graduated into the polished act it is today, performing for crowds at festivals and gigs around Canada including a crowd of 14,000 at Sarnia Bayfest. They are dreaming big, believing big, and achieving big; in fact, the only “little” thing that has come from this band is their first single, Little Sister, later used in a film called “The Camera’s Eye.”

Metro4 delivers a unique cultural blend of personalities in a nothing-but-passion atmosphere. They are a family – a family of 4 – from all directions striving to do one thing together: create music they love, love to play, and love sharing with the world.

Band Members