MGMT - Little Dark Age
Little Dark Age
MGMT have all the hallmarks of one hit wonders. Their debut was stumbled onto by two college friends and rocketed their electro sound above their 2007 contemporaries. The follow up however fall extremely flat as it tried to recapture some of the magic that was in their debut. This new record, Little Dark Age, seems to abandon their opulent excess sound for a more straight electropop posture. They slide into this sound like a glove and it gives them another dimension that we haven't heard from them before. They feel much more like M83 on this album, and sort of nail the sound that Junk (M83's last record) was searching for but failed to find. There always seemed to be an aspect of humor to MGMT, even when it felt like they were taking the silliness pretty serious, but this album really gets it. The opening track "She Works Out Too Much" has this great blend of a funny premise but a bright catchy beat. The same can be said for the single "When You Die" as they sing "go fuck yourself/ You heard me right/ Don't call me Nice again". It's this visceral response and so very cathartic. The almost Eagles-esque guitar solo towards the end also brings a smile to your face in it's sheer ridiculousness. They go all in on this neon drenched sound but for them it absolutely works. They've shifted some of their more indie tendencies towards a more pop heavy style, but there are so many little special moments that make you smile like the Spanish guitar on "TSLAMP" which is so unexpected but fits just right.
The self awareness is also one of this albums biggest strengths. MGMT seem to know that trying to predict what is going to make a splash in the music industry is a fools errand so instead they call out their insecurities and lean into them. This really frees them up and instead of trying they feel like they are being much more in the moment with this record. Not everything works, there are a few times like on "Days That Got Away" where it feels like the band is just getting lost in their own minds and not being as direct and concise as the rest of the record. Even though some of the run times are long on these tracks you never feel it, they cook from the first note to the last. "One Thing Left to Try" is a late stunner full entrenched in electropop that is absolutely massive and makes you excited for what kind of magic MGMT is going to bring to their live shows this year. It's always a bit weird to call an album "make or break" but with MGMT's history this record certainly was. Luckily Little Dark Age hits the mark.
8.2 out of 10