MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser are no strangers to being put under the microscope. After their sophomore release Congratulations slumped three years ago, many wondered if the duo were going to defend and continue this strange and unmemorable musical direction or kick it up a notch. Needless to say, they chose the latter.
The new self-titled album from the Connecticut psychedelic band is more or less like a compromise. The electro funk fans absolutely adored from Oracular Spectacular and the strange noise pop fans were indifferent about from Congratulations are most definitely present here. However, there’s this over-looming electrified darkness creeping in that goes from intriguing to mesmerizing in what feels like a short minute.
MGMT starts off with “Alien Days,” which may be the perfect indie rock single if there ever was one. After listening to it a few times it becomes very reminiscent of Congratulations first single “Flash Delirium,” only there’s a tad more psychedelia backing VanWyngarden’s vocals. The band’s actual first single “Cool Song No. 2” is not too far behind on the likeability scale and is the official first time listeners hear the new electronic and percussion refinements. “Plenty of Girls in the Sea,” “Introspection,” and “Plenty of Girls in the Sea” has some late 1960s inspiration, which is a nice break from the tracks with darker vibes like “Your Life is a Lie,” “A Good Sadness,” and “I Love You Too, Death.”
MGMT’s third release shows growth and one can only hope that these new effects can only be bettered and taken to new heights in the years to come. It’s pretty much clear that the days of Oracular Spectacular are few and far between, however this new release is the kick in the pants fans needed to realize MGMT’s music is still very much a work in progress.