“MGMT” gets five out of five stars.

Tyler Davis, Writer

After the release of their debut album “Oracular Spectacular,” MGMT was the epitome of the “indie sellout.” The two singles from that album, “Kids” and “Electric Feel,” were all but inescapable. The same could not be said for their sophomore effort “Congratulations!” That album was met with little acclaim from both fans and critics. With their third and self-titled album, MGMT has done something truly spectacular. Rather than simply aiming for the same sort of commercial success garnered by their debut, the band has struck a chord much more poignant and unique, vying for a more psychedelic feel that was only hinted at in their previous efforts. This release has more in common sonically with Tame Impala than it does with indie pop compatriots Phoenix or Two Door Cinema Club.

The album kicks off with “Alien Days,” a groovy track with Andrew VanWyngarden’s floaty vocals sitting atop a wash of colorfully distorted textures. Lyrically, this track hearkens back to the great Pink Floyd, with contemplative lines such as “Be quick dear / times are uncertain / one month crawling / next year blurring / decades in the drain / monograms on the brain / decide what's working and what's moved on to the last phase.” The sounds and melodies used in this record are far more eerie and dark than those found in earlier releases. The poppy radio-friendly sounds of old have been traded for acid-induced sonic journeys deep into the rabbit hole of psychedelia. Even the album’s most radio-friendly track, the single, “Your Life Is A Lie” has been given a healthy dose of distortion.

One of the instantly likeable qualities about this album is its irresistible grooviness. With popular artists such as Skrillex using glitchy electronic drums, we can all too quickly forget the power of the groove, something our musical forefathers such as Led Zeppelin and The Doors knew very much about. While the songs on this album are all sonically similar, the rich textures, effects and nuances save them from falling into monotony. It contains a seemingly endless amount of guitar and keyboard effects, ranging from ‘60s inspired sounds to futuristic keyboard modulations.

MGMT went a direction no one, perhaps not even they, expected. Rather than forcing themselves to write catchy pop tunes reminiscent of the ones that skyrocketed them into popularity, they did something that too few bands are willing to do: take risks — vying for a much less commercial sound in favor of something much more unique and challenging. And in a time when music listeners are far too used to seeing great, unique bands lose their souls for a more marketable sound, MGMT has provided an escape from the endless sea of mediocrity.


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