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First Watch: Metric, 'Cascades'

 (YouTube/Courtesy of the artist)closemore
(YouTube/Courtesy of the artist)

(Note: If you have photosensitive epilepsy, this video features strobe effects.)

Metric's synth-pop sound may be fizzy and electric on the surface, but Emily Haines' voice is always there to cut through the whiz-bang energy of it all: Like Stars' Amy Millan, she can convey a world of torment with the phrasing of a single word. It's the kind of voice that's equally effective in vaguely melancholy club bangers and crushingly melancholy chamber-pop ballads. But Metric's newest material rests squarely in the former camp, and even goes so far as to throw open a window and let a glimmer of hope shine in.

Metric's Pagans in Vegas comes out Sept. 18. (Courtesy of the artist)
Metric's Pagans in Vegas comes out Sept. 18. (Courtesy of the artist)

That hope positively dominates "Cascades," which Metric's members describe as "the pounding heart" of their forthcoming sixth album, Pagans in Vegas, due out Sept. 18. A light show in song form, "Cascades" is engineered for the ecstatic intensity of the dance floor. But the words at its center — "Just keep going strong with whatever it is that's compelling you on" — are an antidote to resignation, as Haines sings of survival and persistence. Still, for all the song's encouragement, she maintains a perceptible note of weariness beneath it all, hinting at the hangover situated just beyond the song's propulsive highs.

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