Metric shares wisdom in ‘Pagans in Vegas’

Many artists, especially those with a cult following, suffer a backlash from fans as their name gets bigger and their work evolves. Metric is no exception. Their harsher, grittier, less ambient days are over and their work has become more appealing to the masses with each album. However, despite outcry from indie hipsters, this isn’t a bad thing.

Metric is one of the few bands to blossom as their name gets better known and they become more solidified in the music scene. Their preference for edgier lyrics and subject matter haven’t fallen entirely by the wayside as time has progressed, but the anger and emotion in their music has been replaced by a more sophisticated and coordinated execution. This is absolutely fitting for a band that has been around for more than 15 years. Youthful angst can’t last forever, even for rock musicians, and Metric has made the right choice by not milking that aspect of their music for all it’s worth. Their most recent album, “Pagans in Vegas,” has a youthful, carefree sound to it, but the lyrics have elements of maturity and worldliness that are appropriate for the band at this point their career.

“Pagans in Vegas” espouses universal wisdom in its relatable lyrics and keeps up with the times in its synth-heavy, electronic sound. The opening track “Lie Lie Lie” sets the mood for the rest of the album. Metric knows that they’re taking the more mainstream route that fans often protest, and the first track of the album makes that clear. They’re conscious of the music business and of the risks involved with a bigger name that appeals to more fans. The lyrics “got me a lobotomy for free” summarize their take on this, putting some of their “poppier” songs later in the album into perspective.

“The Shade” and “Cascades” could be considered the most inoffensive, mainstream titles on the album. It would be understandable to write the album off as more silly pop music suitable mostly for background noise based on these two songs alone, but Metric will never be just that. The exuberance in these two tracks doesn’t come from naivety or silliness, but from life experience. The bands members are adults who have lived, loved and lost. Although these two songs seem simple, the joy expressed in them comes from transcending the more difficult and confusing aspects of life.

Metric has always explored the darker elements of life in their lyrics. Although their most recent work is brimming with hope and optimism, these darker elements aren’t ignored and often go hand-in-hand with their more idealistic lyrics. The most obvious examples are in “Other Side,” in which guitarist Jimmy Shaw provides a rare taste of his vocal talents, and in “The Governess” which conjures images of misguided idealists cleaning up a beach.

“Pagans in Vegas” has a sound that evokes a breezy, happy-go-lucky road trip, with lyrics from front woman Emily Haines that sound like enlightening life lessons from an older sister.