Over a decade into their seemingly infinite existence and MGMT still haven’t lost their appeal.
On their fourth effort Little Dark Age, the band return with a box of synth pop magic tricks and prove they’ve still got something good to give.
The Oracular Spectacular days seem like a distant star system now, with hits like “Kids” and “Time to Pretend” lacking from the band’s experimentally inclined follow-ups. But Little Dark Age brings the band right back into full, funky, third-eye view, showing that Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser haven’t forgotten how to bash out catchy psychedelic synth pop bangers (a la “Electric Feel”) at will.
It’s clear from the off that the duo have given themselves a good talking to, as “She Works Out Too Much” bursts open the door into MGMT’s familial, wonky, 3D sonic world, with plasticine synthesisers and robotic vocals galore. It’s like a virtual sweet shop where the gummy bears are talking to the fizzy cola bottles. The title track itself is an anthemic piece of off-kilter gothic synth pop, intricately formulated to leave you wanting more and more.
The fairground funhouse tour continues with the likes of “Me and Michael” – a tongue-in cheek 80s b-movie ballad, with a huge chorus. “TSLAMP” is Daft Punk on a particularly potent batch of Acid, whilst “When Your Small” is Pink Floyd or Air for the uninitiated. “When you’re small you can’t walk down the hall / When you’re small you’re not very big at all” sings Wyngarden over delicate plucks of acoustic guitar and ghostly piano keys. After the existential paranoia comes the aptly soothing tones of dreamy comedown tune “Hand it Over”, passing on the proverbial baton to whatever might come next.
Following the success of artists like Ariel Pink and Tame Impala, the arena of odd and experimental psychedelic pop music is in relatively safe hands, but MGMT still hold a stake in its creation. There’s still something fun and interesting to be found in what the band do and Little Dark Age is proof that they’re nowhere near done with inter dimensional meddling.