Music Reviews
Pagans in Vegas

Metric Pagans in Vegas

(MMI / Crystal Math Music) Buy it from Insound Rating - 4/10
"I've been tasked with reviewing the new Metric album, Pagans in Vegas," I wrote my new crush last week, maybe showing off a little. "I'm annoyed because I don't think it's any good, which is very disappointing. I love Metric. I think I reviewed two other albums of theirs for the site over the years, maybe only one. But they kind of lost me with Synthetica (though that one wasn't bad), and this one is just... devolving further."
 
Because I write reviews so rarely, I've gotten into a pattern of sticking to the bands I know and love. This means I wax nostalgic too often and sound like an inflexible hag who uses "whippersnapper" too often in casual conversation, lacking any ironic detachment. I'll cut myself a break here and say that I've grown along with many of my idols, with the New Pornographers (and all of their members). With Deerhoof. With anybody else I've doubled or tripled up on. That's all the apology and prefacing I'll allow, because Pagans in Vegas is a shockingly forgettable release.
 
The lyrics are Metric-typical, the usual indictment of the glossy glitterati, and the album's first line off Lie Lie Lie starts off enticingly: "If it happened it was meant to be/offer me a free lobotomy." There's a menacing little build-up in this opening track that had me hoping, begging for the same ecstatic moment I felt when I got to the two minute mark on Empty, the opening track on 2005's Live it Out for the first time. When they say any sex is good sex, they're lying. The song's climax is utterly underwhelming. I'd kick it out of bed immediately. 
 
There's a patchwork of pleasantness woven throughout. What would I cobble together from this disappointment? The tragically short chorus of Fortunes: "Stay to soften the blow/hand over fist/to drink and to smoke/my blood from a stone/I do expect/fortunes to fold/hand over fist/to soften the blow/blood from a stone." Maybe, but only just maybe, the deeper bass, again under the chorus, from Celebrate, and only because that reminds me of CHVRCHES (how the mighty have fallen). Too Bad, So Sad is the only track that even begins to approximate something remotely recognizable as Metric, and it does so pathetically. Why? Because it's a repetitive percussive nothingness until we get our throwback, and to what? "Oh yeah, WOO HOO!" That's it. That's honestly it.
 
Notice I've left off the single, Cascades. Metric has become a dull droid where it used to be an instant dance party. I feel some Ratatat, Ladytron, Depeche Mode, and the slower, older new wave influences, but there's nothing new here. It's sleepy and it drones on. I can't imagine a worse pick for a single.
 
By the time the closing tracks roll around, the album has fallen apart entirely. These instrumentals are complete afterthoughts and belong nowhere, relegated to the bottom heap where maybe, on vinyl, they'd naturally flow into the sweet release of the needle spinning in the center, the jarring clicks preferable to the album showcasing the devolution of pop rock icons.