Published Sep 16, 2015Metric are set to release their sixth album, Pagans in Vegas, on September 18 via MMI/Crystal Math/Universal, but the group are already teasing its follow-up.
Currently referred to simply as LP 7, the still unfinished record, described as the "total opposite" of Pagans sonically, was born out frontwoman Emily Haines' trip to Nicaragua at the beginning of 2014. The band were set to take the entirety of the year off, but when Haines and guitarist James Shaw reconnected on the phone last March, they quickly discovered they'd each written what they considered a full record.
"When Metric write a song, either Emily writes a piano song that's really sad and makes you want to lie in the bathtub, or I write a really fast electro jam that makes you want to do drugs and go party," Shaw tells Exclaim! "It becomes Metric when it meets in the middle."
This time, the group decided to let the sad songs be sad and the happy songs be happy, releasing both collections separately. They started recording both records simultaneously last fall but quickly abandoned Haines' tracks in favour of Shaw's tunes, which became Pagans in Vegas. "It's a double album, but we're not a releasing it that way."
Sessions for Pagans stretched into March. But when the band were offered the opening slot on Imagine Dragon's just-completed summer tour, the group decided to use the opportunity to break out of their usual recording process (Pagans, as well as Fantasies and Synthetica were recorded at Shaw's Giant Studios).
"We basically took the tour and recorded a whole other record while we were on it. We went into all these different studios all around America," he says, including legendary spaces like the Village in Los Angeles, where Fleetwood Mac recorded Tusk. "The room that I played acoustic guitar in was the Stevie Nicks room. Like. made for her — she found all the stain glass windows."
Whereas Pagans is Metric's "most electronic, MIDI-ed old-school electronic record," inspired by bands like Depeche Mode, the Cure and the Chemical Brothers, Shaw describes the forthcoming record as a full-band follow-up to Haines' 2006 solo record Knives Don't Have Your Back. "There's no synthesizers or machines on the whole thing. It's drums, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, grand piano, Rhodes, Hammond and that's it. No instruments made after 1970."
Recording on tour meant that the band didn't have the luxury of time that recording at Giant afforded them. But Shaw says the rushed sessions were a blessing. Owning your studio leaves too much room for second-guessing. "I feel more confident in it than the stuff I labour to shit."
For now, stream all of Pagans in Vegas below.