Metric
Pagans In Vegas


2.9
good

Review

by DaveyBoy EMERITUS
September 16th, 2015 | 62 replies


Release Date: 09/18/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: True to frustrating form… Too bad, so sad.

Technically speaking, the term “frustrating” doesn’t have to be a wholly negative connotation, does it" A near-perfect album could be frustrating in the sense that it isn’t quite perfect. The label could simply be one imposed by a taskmaster suggesting that improvements can still be made… or a pessimist who prefers to cite negatives over positives. No matter which way you look at it, Canadian indie-rockers Metric are a frustrating band. Unfortunately, that fact has not changed on the quartet’s slick sixth LP ‘Pagans in Vegas’.

Armed with one of the most charismatic and versatile vocalists in music, it really shouldn’t be all that difficult for Metric to consistently appeal. Enchanting and beguilingly ambivalent, Emily Haines can effortlessly transition from sweet to sour in an instant. There’s nothing wrong with the backing musicians either, as a tight rhythm section is well complemented by Haines’ fellow Broken Social Scene colleague James Shaw; a producer who not only excels in crafting winning synth melodies, but is also an unheralded guitarist. Unsurprisingly, the band’s discography contains some genuine quality: The supremely catchy ‘Monster Hospital’, the quiet/loud dynamics of ‘Empty’, and masterful crossover tunes ‘Help I’m Alive’ and ‘Sick Muse’. Regrettably, the band’s want for ambition and complexity has often hindered consistency… And when predecessor ‘Synthetica’ predominantly rectified that, the by-product was a disappointingly mechanical and unengaging affair.

‘Pagans in Vegas’ does begin well enough, with Metric’s retro new-wave influences recalling the likes of Depeche Mode and New Order. In amongst various bleeps, bloops and underlying disco influences, everything is well-balanced musically, with melodic riffs in abundance. The restrained intensity of opener ‘Lie Lie Lie’ and hooky lead single ‘The Shade’ especially stand out as impressive. Unfortunately, it all begins to go awry with a jarring transition into 8-bit and vocoder on the certain to be polarizing ‘Cascades’. Following that, everything bar the unabashedly playful ‘Too Bad, So Sad’ borders on filler. The sweet side of Haines’ voice goes a step too far on the still catchy ‘For Kicks’, while Shaw’s vocal contribution to ‘The Other Side’ is underwhelming. ‘Blind Valentine’ and ‘The Governess’ don’t do much wrong, but aren’t exactly memorable, while the two-part instrumental closer is proficient enough, but ultimately a meek and overlong eight minutes worth.

True to form, ‘Pagans in Vegas’ is not a bad album. If Metric were a sports team, a supporter might want them to bottom out, rebuild and get motivated to reach their true potential. The shark hasn’t necessarily been jumped here, but the patience of many listeners is likely to be wearing thin. It’s too harsh to suggest that the band are coasting, since there are once more fragments of ideas, concepts and melodies which arouse. It also may be a little unfair to accuse Shaw & Co. of compromising, since their want to explore and experiment is admirable. But something does have to change for Metric to arrest their downward trajectory. One way or another, album number seven may have to go all-in. Whether they should go all Kraftwerk on us, or ponder a more chart-baiting style will remain up for conjecture. Either way, it should at least quell Metric’s propensity to frustrate.

Recommended Tracks: The Shade, Lie Lie Lie & Celebrate.




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user ratings (54)
Chart.
2.6
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Emeritus
September 15th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

The word of the day is: Frustrating

Gyromania
September 16th 2015


27150 Comments


^bullshit. fantasies was a great album

psandy
September 16th 2015


280 Comments


I made the executive decision not to make it through this album.

RadicalEd
September 16th 2015


9546 Comments


Fantasies was solid enough, but other than that I wasn't ever really impressed by them. So I'll give this a pass.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
September 16th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

You're a tough judge Arcade. I'm with Gyro & Ed in really liking 'Fantasies', although I couldn't even rate that higher than a 3.5 due to its up & down nature. Dunno, I reckon a 'Best of' of theirs would go down pretty smoothly.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2015


7502 Comments


"No matter which way you look at it, Canadian indie-rockers Metric are a frustrating band."

Pretty much sums up these guys for me.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
September 16th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Yeah... I just think they're capable of so much better. The ingredients are all there imo.

Pangea
September 16th 2015


3032 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I remember loving breathing underwater a few years ago

Digging: The National - I Am Easy to Find

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
September 16th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

That's the thing... I think everyone has at least one song of theirs that they really love.

Aerisavion
September 16th 2015


1533 Comments


Gotta agree here - when they do it right, Metric do a great job, but it's frustrating that they keep missing the mark when they easily have the potential to do much better.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
September 16th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Well said. It will be interesting to see if they go in a particular direction next time around.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2015


7502 Comments


I still bust out "Sick Muse" and "Gold Guns Girls" every now and then haha. The latter especially is such a sick jam.

WatchItExplode
September 16th 2015


6674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Had no idea this was coming out!



Synthetica was fairly disappointing but everything else in the Metric discog is good to excellent imo. I agree that a greatest hits/comp of some sort would be great. Also, props for mentioning Empty, that is one of my favorites.

Digging: Pile - Green and Grey

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
September 16th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Yeah, Irving, if I go back to one of their albums, it tends to be 'Fantasies'.



It had a few pre-release songs WIE, but not much publicity otherwise. And yes, if there is an under-rated tune on their discog, it's 'Empty'.

Tunaboy45
September 16th 2015


16737 Comments


Great album name though

TooLateToGoBack
September 16th 2015


1965 Comments


Loved Fantasies, but they really lost me with Synthetica.

Guessing I won't like this a whole lot.

WatchItExplode
September 16th 2015


6674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

enjoyed The Shade, Lie Lie Lie was fairly miserable



will listen all the through ASAP, think I'm going to like the glitchier, more electronically-driven songs the best

Source
September 16th 2015


10873 Comments


Album may not be good, but Emily Haines is still a babe.

RogueNine
September 16th 2015


3910 Comments


I hear they are lousy live.

WatchItExplode
September 16th 2015


6674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That's NOFX



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