The (A)DAR – Metric’s Pagans in Vegas

metric-pagans-in-vegasEven when I’m not reviewing 20-year-old albums, I’m behind the times. Pagans in Vegas is the 2015 release by Metric, and even though the band has been putting out albums since the turn of the century, this is the first Metric record I’ve actually sat down and listened to.

And man, have I been missing out. Since getting my first taste of Pagans in Vegas at a friend’s birthday party, it’s been in fairly regular rotation in my phone’s media player. In another example of how behind the times I truly am, it’s there due in no small part to the fact that it sounds like something born of the 1980s. The intro to “Fortunes” sounds like a modern take on early Depeche Mode; “Cascades” might be a lost Trans-X track; “For Kicks” could have been lifted off a mid-’80s New Order B-side; and yeah, Underworld’s “Born Slippy” came out in the ’90s, but there’s no denying that Metric’s “Celebrate” shares some of that song’s DNA.

Picking stand-out tracks from a solid record like this is tough, but I do have some favourites. The electronic sounds of “The Shade” perfectly cradle Emily Haines’ voice as her melody floats like a falling leaf. The song makes a pretty darn good ringtone, too.

The one that really does it for me on Pagans in Vegas, though is “Other Side.” It’s got that perfect ’80s electronic music sound, bandmate James Shaw’s haunting vocals. Combine that with lyrics like:

Fools may rise – all fall in their time
Burning with the forest fires
And all we want is to feel like all we got
Didn’t cost us everything
Even if we never win

And I’m haunted. If Pagans in Vegas is indicative of the quality of music this band has been putting out for a decade and a half, I definitely need to take some time to plumb the depths of Metric’s back catalogue.

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