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Metric - Pagans In Vegas [2LP]




A1 Lie Lie Lie   
A2 Fortunes  
A3 The Shade   
B1 Celebrate   
B2 Cascades  
C1 For Kicks    
C2 Too Bad, So Sad    
C3 Other Side  
D1 Blind Valentine    
D2 The Governess  
D3 The Face Part I  
D4 The Face Part II

Having slow-cooked a career built on massive hooks, anthemic choruses, top-shelf production and the charismatic presence of frontlady Emily Haines, Metric very well could have kept producing slight variations of their established formula and been just fine for another decade or so. But just like any band who makes it six albums into its career, the band have decided to tinker with the sound that endeared them to so many to begin with. Call it boredom. Call it chasing a muse. Any artist worth their salt needs to stretch its legs every once in a while, and lo and behold, the men (and lady) in Metric have reached that point themselves.

On Pagans in Vegas, Metric double-down on the new-wave leanings of 2012's Synethica with unfortunately diminishing returns. What the band gains in lusher soundscapes and a broader scope, it loses in punchiness. The songwriting feels sterile and alien, with typically charming Haines sounding oddly removed from the rest of the band. There are still flashes of old Metric to be found. The Shade and Celebrate in particular feel like a natural progression, while for better or worse, Too Bad, So Sad fits alongside previous single Lost Kitten. But so much of the album feels stuck in the middle, as if the band themselves are going through a mid-career crisis. The closing pair of tracks -- The Face Part I & II - gain some traction while breaking new ground. Unfortunately, these nice, subdued instrumentals with minimal vocals are too little too late. By the time the album wraps up, it leaves one feeling like they've consumed empty musical calories.

It's not that Pagans in Vegas is a bad album, per se. But the most damning compliment one could offer would be that it makes perfectly fine background music. But that's not what Metric is about. Their music is meant to be big and bold, to stand out from the crowd and command your attention. History tells us that this is likely just a detour in Metric's career, one that will make the next release that much more satisfying. But in the meantime, it's a bit of a bummer to find Metric as we know them to be missing in action.

Although in general we appreciate this release but we feel that it is missing a lot of the energy Metric shared with us on previous efforts.