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First Watch: Metric, 'Cascades'

(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.

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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