Pagans In Vegas, 180G Black Vinyl 2LP, Digital Download Included!
Over the past decade, Broken Social Scene alumna Emily Haines has played the role of post-Internet philosopher, struggling to retain her individuality in a world growing more developed and technologically dependent by the day. The binary between authenticity and artificiality has remained a perennial interest for the Toronto-based musician, and it comes up yet again on her band Metric's latest album Pagans In Vegas with zero subtlety. In one corner waits the natural, manifested in dressed-down guitars and Haines’ lilting soprano. In the other, the machines state their case through forays into disco drudgery, stiff synths and Siri singalongs. Over the course of 13 tracks, these two forces collide, with the latter ultimately winning out.
Pagans in Vegas deepens the new-wave dalliances of its predecessor (2012's Synthetica) with their slinkiest, slickest palette to date. Depeche Mode’s influence is impossible to ignore – opening track "Lie Lie Lie" and mid-album highlight "Too Bad, So Sad" take their rhythmic cues from the bluesy strut of "Personal Jesus", while "For Kicks" channels the nocturnal throb of "Precious". The cartoonish 8-bit bleep-bloops adorning tracks like "The Shade", meanwhile, belie a quirkier, '80s-arcade inspiration.
This gives listeners the chance to experience Metric in an unprecedentedly cheery context, but in the case of "The Shade", it comes at the cost of stirring up traumatic memories of Adam Sandler’s god-awful video game movie Pixels. Fortunately, the group make up for it with lead single "Cascades", a glitched-out dance track that casts Haines as some type of forlorn, sleep-deprived android, whispering against the percussionists’ paranoid, thumping percussion. It’s the perfect synthesis of Fantasies’ meaty fretwork and Live It Out's glossy electronics, as well as a rare moment of stylistic equilibrium. -Pitchfork