Metric - Pagans in Vegas

by Brian Lange. Rating:6 Release Date:2015-09-22

Not many people may remember MySpace, but it was on this very site that I stalked a girl that I was crushing on. It never amounted to anything, but it was on her MySpace page that I first heard 'Dead Disco', and thus my foray into the world of Metric. 

Old World Underground, Where are you Now? was released over ten years ago, in 2003. Though the Canadian based indie-rock/new wave band has achieved respectable levels of success and picking up a 'can do no wrong' tag along the way, their evolution may not be as discernable as other bands. 

Hitting up festivals in Reading, Leeds, and Cochella led to soundtrack work and mainstream hipster acceptance.  Once (and maybe still currently) associated with the Broken Social Scene, frontwoman Emily Haines’ unique voice has always provided a prominent place on the musical map of alternative music. 

Pagans in Vegas is Metric’s sixth studio album since 2003.  IS the band slowing down?  Are they evolving?  Pagans in Vegas is most certainly a departure from Old World Underground, providing listeners with a more subdued and minimal sound while being a little more poppy than albums of the past.  Though Haines’ voice has always had the ability to lull, the musical components seem to have less reliance on ‘synthy’ sounds.  The electronic influence still comes through, but It’s not quite the music you would get up and dance to.  Maybe this is a gentler Emily Haines who has matured out of her misanthropic and confused days of lore and accepted the course of life.  The poppy aspect may lead one to believe that perhaps she is in a happier place. 

In general, the record seems to lack anything substantial.  The conveying of raw emotion seems lost in the music.  It feels a bit lazy, as if the band no longer has anything to say.  Lyrics become clichéd and are hard to take seriously.  There are some shining moments where the Emily Haines of a decade ago seem to peek through, most specifically with the darker toned "Cascades", but much of the record is not very memorable.

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