KUMD Album Review: MGMT

Feb 28, 2018

MGMT | Little Dark Age

The electro-heavy indie band MGMT have come a long way since their 2007 debut, Oracular Spectacular. Like much indie music, it has changed over time and developed a distinct personal sound familiar to fans. The band is comprised of two Connecticut high school friends, Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, for those new to the show. Their fourth album, Little Dark Ages, sees the duo sticking to the familiar and being more conservative with their sound choices. Doubling down on electro synths along with more catchy hooks, MGMT presents a more mainstream approach to their music this time around. This is not to take away from the unique, acid-laced touch their music has, but shows how they’ve polished their sound over the years.

The album begins with the bass-backed “She Works Out Too Much,” the group’s take on how they feel about using dating apps. The CPU-voiced narrator creates an 80’s nostalgia on the obscure track; however, the message at heart is a solid one. “Welcome to the shit show” is sung softly on the hook as the band talks about their displeasures and the fatigue of trying to use some of these apps. “It never works out” they sing melodically in the song by the same name, another track that tackles problems we face with technology in this ever-adapting 21st century.

The duo’s tendency to incorporate their twisted sense of humor is always a highlight. A pop hit about revenge, “When You Die,” explores the dark world our emotions can lead to. Here MGMT gives us one of their most polished and layered tracks since they began releasing music. The chorus will have you screaming about that ex who did you wrong or your boss who can’t get off your back “Go f*ck yourself/ I'm mean, not nice/you said it twice.” Vulgar, yes but the song is so well put together that it’ll be a shock if it’s not a radio hit in the near future.

The calming outro, “Hand It Over,” finds the light-hearted duo tackling last year’s most talked-about individual, Donald Trump. On the surface the track seems to be about commitment, but, after an interview with the group, it was revealed to be a cryptic take on the election and its fallout. Regardless of political preference anyone would be happy after hearing this jam even as it takes aim at a sensitive issue: “the joke's worn thin/the king stepped in” they sing as light strums and solid drums hit, creating a Beach Boys feel with a political undertone.

The 10-track album contains some of the best music from this notorious duo who are returning after a 5-year hiatus. For all you locals, MGMT will be performing in Saint Paul at Myth on March 2nd at 8pm.