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REVIEW: MGMT go a different direction with ‘Little Dark Age’

New Music Friday

The latest studio album from indie rock duo MGMT is much different than what fans of hits “Electric Feel” and “Time to Pretend,” may have expected, but if you hold onto the end, the result is a rather nostalgic trip through time, taking listeners back to the 1980’s—to a time of VHS tapes, leg warmers, and new wave music.

mgmtTheir new album, Little Dark Age, channels a much darker, more gothic sound, similar to that of groups such as Joy Division or Siouxsie and the Banshees. The album opens with “She Works Out Too Much,” which sounds like distorted workout video combined with the Sonic the Hedgehog video game soundtrack.

The lead single, also titled “Little Dark Age,” was released back in October 2017, along with a music video featuring lead vocalist Andrew VanWyngarden, hair coiffed like a young Robert Smith of The Cure, and Ben Goldwasser, as they meander around an old Victorian-style haunted house. If it sounds a little too much like a trip into Luigi’s Mansion, that’s because it is. The duo face-off against shadowy figures and faces that haunt the property.

“When You Die” was released back in December, as the album’s second single. It also featured a rather bizarre music video, which tells the story of an amateur magician whose act is abruptly cut short when a light fixture falls and hits him in the head. The song returns back to their indie rock roots, with a bittersweet melody similar to The Shins, mixed-in with some psychedelic sound and a creepy laugh track.

MGMT also channel the struggles many artists face in modern society, with “Me and Michael,” which tells the story of how easy it has become for internet users to steal the work of others and try to bootleg it as their own.

Another noteworthy track, “One Thing Left to Try,” reverts back to the bubbly synth-pop sound heard throughout their 2007 debut album, Oracular Spectacular, with just a tiny splash of ‘80s darkwave tossed in. The album slowly comes to a close with the light-hearted dream-pop track, “Hand it Over,” a sweetly downtempo melody that all fans can appreciate.

While there is no denying that MGMT is going through an experimental phase, toying with their overall sound, the result is something that really plays to people’s nostalgic tendencies. For more information on the group’s latest album, click here to visit their website

RATING: 4 / 5

LISTEN: MGMT – ‘LITTLE DARK AGE’

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