This feels like a new start for MGMT, they’ve gone back to the drawing board and honed in on their skills to craft a cohesive synth-pop album; returning to form with a huge bang.
MGMT are a synth-pop outfit from Connecticut, America; currently consisting of members Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser. They quickly became a household name in early 2008 with their huge debut album Oracular Spectacular, containing huge era-defining hits such as Kids and Time To Pretend. Since then the band have followed up with a couple of albums and tried to hit those heights once more but ultimately came up short in their quests. They’re back now after a five year wait from the eponymous third album brought out in 2013, and Little Dark Age promised new beginnings for the band.
The album starts with a wacky synth heavy anthem about the breakdown of a relationship (She Works Out Too Much) which has direct correlation to the amount of exercise the other half did compared to the person who’s perspective the song is about. I absolutely love the angle this track takes both sonically and contextually as the rest of the songs follow suit on bizarre sounds and concepts. The title track follows and is one that I have adored ever since it’s release towards the back end of 2017. It has dark undertones but that doesn’t take away from the fun this song dives into when the chorus hits and the instrumentals go up an octave.
Personal favourites of mine from this project come straight after this to continue an immense run of catchy tracks, going from the start right the way through the title track; as well as When You Die, Me and Michael and TSLAMP. The former of these listed songs came out as a single and ceased to blow me away on first listen, but in the context of the album it fits like a glove as we see the obvious themes of light at the end of a storm and overcoming struggle oozing through this funky pop anthem. TSLAMP takes a look at modern technology, another key element of the album as the band often critique the way society is with the advancements of technology; something which shows divergence in the band’s style which is largely futuristic with electronic production.
The best song on this album, however, goes to the devilishly brilliant One Thing Left To Try which gave me immense feelings of nostalgia when listening to it; the track sounds like something fresh out of the band’s prime era and gave off the feelings of it being another Weekend Wars moment for MGMT. It shows real maturity from the band as well as being a nod to finer times, when they were fresh faced and full of promise.
The album as a whole feels like a new start for MGMT, they’ve gone back to the drawing board and honed in on their skills to craft a cohesive synth-pop album; returning to form with a huge bang. I think that it isn’t really up for debate when saying that it is a far better attempt than their two previous albums and it more than holds it’s own against the band’s groundbreaking debut effort Oracular Spectacular. It’s early doors, but I think we have an album of the year contender here, and it has come courtesy of a band many would have assumed had left their best days behind.