Made by fans for fans (by way of Metric), Fantasies Flashbacks is more of an artifact than an album. With proceeds being donated to the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, this deluxe edition, a remix collection as well as a re-release, is a power pack of 7″ vinyls, digital downloads, and fan artwork, all housed in its own special box. So, Fantasies Flashbacks, a project designed by Metric to test the creativity of their fan base — its 34 tracks consisting of original songs from 2009’s Fantasies, plus bonus tracks and remixes of those songs created by fans and selected by the band — works less as an album and more as a kind of event.
The thing is, it’s probably not worth the investment, charitable proceeds aside. Fantasies was a great indie rock album, sweeping from catchier-than-catchy opener “Help I’m Alive” through the low dirtiness of “Satellite Mind” to the bubblegum indie ballad “Gimme Sympathy”. It was an exercise in glittering, hummable indie rock, with Emily Haines’ sweet voice at its best. It was a brilliant record in the simplest of ways.
The remixes accompanying the album on Fantasies Flashbacks aren’t. While some of the versions here, such as the “Gimme Sympathy” Trashtalk remix — which combines elements of dubstep with electropop — are of some class, the majority pale in comparison with their inspirations. The Danger Denial Anger Acceptance Mix of “Help I’m Alive”, for example, replaces the satisfying, jerking guitar chords, fuzzy bass, and thumping drums with acoustic guitars and ethereal drones, turning it from something The Breeders could have been seriously proud of into what could be a B-side from Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
Really, there’s only one genuinely impressive remix: Kostiarapoport’s take on “Collect Call”. Turning the original from an innocent and relatively generic indie track into a pensive and slow ensemble of string and harp, it ends up being similar to a Final Fantasy or Son Lux record, and with Haines’ vocals preserved, it verges on Kate Bush territory.
But Fantasies Flashbacks, at least in its digital form with original tracks and their remixes alternating, is sometimes boring and definitely too long. With this one, it’s a matter of form: In 7″ singles, with the tracks divided, it definitely works. Still, Fantasies was a great album, and Fantasies Flashbacks is a good excuse in itself to revisit it — and get some new Metric material along the way.
Essential Tracks: “Collect Call (Kostiarapoport Remix), “Gimme Sympathy (Trashtalk Remix)”, and “Help I’m Alive”