“Las Vegas looks the way you’d imagine heaven must look at night” Chuck Palahniuk once wrote. A view shared by tycoon Steve Wynn, who states Las Vegas is how God would do it if he had money”. Heavenly and divine Vegas may be, but Pagans in Vegas certainly isn’t, the latest effort from Toronto quartet Metric.
Just like the city, Pagans in Vegas’ lifeblood is a constant electro-grind which pulsates through sweaty beats that should have been left buried deep in the 80’s. Opening track ‘Lie Lie Lie’ is Depeche Mode-esque; full of glam-stomp and unashamedly over the top, with the chorus being an almost identical rip-off of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Boxer’. ‘Celebrate’ is reminiscent of a Little Mix collaboration concocted whilst both parties had overdosed on sugary E-numbers, bouncing between sun-kissed synths and wails of “I gave it everything and I just wanted you to feel the same”. Respite from the cloying vocals of Emily Haines arrives on ‘Other Side’ and is the most direct pop number on the album so far. It’s no coincidence that the album’s highlight, ‘The Face Pt. II’, is a fully instrumental closer. Ornate in nature, the orchestration on display promises mass appeal for fans of Hammock and M83, giving – an unfittingly beautiful send off.
The largest issue lies with the behemoth battle between the digital and analogue instrumentation that Metric seem to have found themselves in. The two are rarely used harmoniously, resulting in an overall uncomfortable listen that doesn’t echo what Metric have shown they are gloriously capable of in their earlier work.