sat 04/12/2021

CD: MGMT - MGMT | reviews, news & interviews

CD: MGMT - MGMT

CD: MGMT - MGMT

American duo frustrate with follow-up to the classic ‘Congratulations’

MGMT: misanthropy creeps in

MGMT’s last album, 2010’s Congratulations, defined a modern psychedelia of the highest order. Bold of sweep, full of ambition and tinged with the airs of defeat and desperation, it set Ben Goldwasser and Andrew Van Wyngarden up as ones to watch: a duo whose early electropop-inclined work had been left far behind. It’s unfortunate then that their self-titled third album does not take them even further out. Instead, MGMT is the sound of a band stuck in low gear.

To a degree, Goldwasser and Van Wyngarden have had some of their thunder stolen by the rise of Tame Impala and their leader Kevin Parker’s coronation as the new King of modern psychedelia. Also, MGMT lacks Congratulations' commitment to pushing their art as far as possible. Nothing has the impact of its predecessor's wonderful, 12-minute portmanteau composition “Siberian Breaks” – or even its length. This is all a pity as, intrinsically, the new album is good. It’s more that Congratulations set the bar so high.

MGMT was trailed by the single “Your Life Is a Lie” which, although sounding like a less headache-inducing Animal Collective and MGMT's own early, poppier material, was a (maybe hedge-betting) feint and not representative of its parent album. Overall, MGMT echoes Congratulations’ sadder moments such as "Song for Dan Treacy" and "I Found a Whistle". They have seemingly been cocking their ears to very early Tangerine Dream and Cluster. The title of Faine Jade’s psych classic “Introspection”, which they cover, sums up their mood as do the dense, underwater dynamics of "Astro-Mancy". Misanthropy creeps in with the misogynist "Plenty of Girls in the Sea". The album is accompanied by “The Optimizer", a full-length visual accompaniment which wasn’t supplied for review. Perhaps more of their creative energies went into that.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Watch the trailer for MGMT’s MGMT

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