MGMT – Little Dark Age

MGMT have definitely had a journey...
MGMT : Little Dark Age
7.8 Columbia

MGMT : Little Dark Age


MGMT have definitely had a journey. The duo of Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden broke out of Wesleyan University a decade ago doing psych-dance songs about having models for wives and their fellow “Kids”, launching them very quickly into the big time. Yet 2010 follow-up Congratulations (QRO review) was almost a classic ‘sophomore attempt by a pop band to go weird,’ and 2013’s self-titled album wasn’t the ‘return to form’ that usually comes next (particularly with a self-titled record). The psychedelic and dance scenes have become a lot more populated in the last ten years, leaving the group to watch as other, newer acts pass them by. But Little Dark Age is that return to form you’ve been waiting for – while still having MGMT’s weirdness as well.

Wisely putting their catchiest, most danceable song to open the record, “She Works Out Too Much” is a great eighties workout piece to it not working out. Yet then they switch it up completely, with the distant, haunting MGMT synths on “Little Dark Age” – and pull that off as well. While the rest of the record doesn’t quite match those heights, the duo consistently stays accessible even when they go off in odd directions – or don’t. There’s straight-up synth-dance on “One Thing Left To Try” and relaxed disco shine to closer “Hand It Over”, but also the undeniably strange little freak-harmony “When You’re Small” in between.

No, Little Dark Age isn’t Oracular Spectacular II, but it shouldn’t be. It is a band that has successfully balanced catchy and weird doing so again, in their own way.

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