This Pagans In Vegas article was written by Adam Stevenson. Edited by Macon Oxley
Do you remember the early-2000s when an angsty blonde angel by the name of Emily Haines led the Toronto-based indie-rock quartet that was Metric, and their debut album, ‘Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?’ came out to surprise us as a mellowed-out Pixies’ album cross-bred with a sultry PJ Harvey sound-a-like? Fast-forward twelve years to the new Metric, and a new studio album, ‘Pagans in Vegas’, to find the band you thought you knew and loved is almost unrecognisable.
The band’s sixth studio album has once again spiralled more and more into techno/synth territory, as they have followed on from their last album, ‘Synthetica’, with an offering that sees the gritty post-punk guitar riffs fade further into the backround to be replaced by a new age pop-synth sound as Emily Haines & Co continue their decade long transition.
The first track, ‘Lie Lie Lie’, is so bizarre it will leave you questioning where the album is going and whether you want to stay for the ride.
It starts on a strange note, mixing a dark country guitar with a Gwen Stefani/J-pop vibe as she speaks of the serenity in lobotomies before pushing into an 80s mechanical Kraftwerk feel – even citing Dylan Thomas’s ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’, echoing the line, “rage against the dying of the light”.
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Next we are treated to ‘Fortunes’, completely different to ‘Lie Lie Lie’ and reminiscent of something by Scissors Sisters on ‘Night Work’. The second track on the album is a comforting, breezy track that ticks away like a clock, building before a succession of eight quick drum beats launches us into an indie-pop melody of softly pressed keys and floating voices that mirror each other perfectly.
Like ‘Help I’m Alive’ from ‘Fantasies’, there is one track that dominates over the others on this album. ‘The Shade’, with its honesty and directness, captures the adolescent feelings of love and life perfectly. This pure slice of pop heaven is a slow burner but before long bursts into a heavily catchy chorus that will soon have you shouting it with real feeling – “I WANT IT ALL!”
‘Pagans In Vegas’ is by no means a bad album. In fact, it’s sizzling techno-enthused pop that delivers some foot-tappingly delicious, synth-driven tracks that get better and catchier by the listen. The issue with the album is deciding whether or not you can embrace the change Metric are making for themselves. Can you let the brash, unsettling indie-rock sensibility transform into something vastly different – something more energetic, something more pop?
Out now, ‘Pagans In Vegas’ is available via Metric Music International.