MGMT: MGMT (COLUMBIA) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Sep 23, 2013 MGMT Bookmark and Share

Upon the release of Congratulations, there was a lot of talk about how MGMT were alienating fans with an album that overreached into defiant weirdness following their hugely popular debut. Despite its leap from Oracular Spectacular, Congratulations is closer to the acid-freak soul that MGMT was meant to produce. Their third albumthe self-titled MGMTcarries on this tradition with more focus and clarity.

It finally feels like Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser figured out the careful balance between the indie pop wunderkinds the world mistook them for on their debut and the unpredictable psychedelic troubadours we heard on Congratulations. MGMT is a more confident effort and sticks to a consistency that Congratulations sorely lacks. It’s carried by a subtle fuzzy hum that, despite its synth-heavy melodies, suggests MGMT finally discovered their distortion pedals. MGMT follows a textured map of expansive sounds but doesn’t suffer from a lack of accessible tunes.

The opening helium-affected vocals of “Alien Days” foreshadow themes of illusions that run throughout the album. Its beginning sounds nervously reckless but quickly settles into a smooth groove that picks up where the Congratulations’ closing title track left off.

On the epic “Astro-Mancy,” MGMT’s dark post-punk influences shine through. Far from the neon-disco of “Electric Feel,” “I Love You Too, Death,” hums along with romantic-poetic lyrics backed by a cascading Velvet Underground-inspired drone. The band’s rhythmic dive into new shoegazy territory carries on through much of the second half of the album, giving the music a depth that encompasses the listener in a swell of synths and percussion, only to be interrupted by the vaudevillian “Plenty of Girls in the Sea.”

With song titles such as “Mystery Disease,” “Introspection,” and “Your Life is a Lie,” there’s a sense of self-reflection. As “Introspection” asks repeatedly, “What am I really like inside?” MGMT attempts a soul searching descent into whimsical psychedelia. It’s interesting among such doubt that the most intriguing aspect of MGMT is their dedication to their image as hallucinogenic libertines. They’ve committed to treading the edges of quirky experimentation without losing their ability to craft tongue-in-cheek indie glam anthems.

MGMT is a natural progression in a band’s trajectory that started off so well-received only to careen off course with a polarizing follow-up. They were never in an enviable position. In that sense, MGMT is closer to a definitive MGMT record, but it isn’t trying to win back fans either. They’ve managed to step forward into focused recalibration without losing their weekend-warrior identity. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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September 26th 2013

Why are their two reviews of MGMT? One being a positive 7.5/10 and the other being a 5.5/10. Did you guys have to give them a positive review so they’d be on the cover your magazine? If so that’s hilarious.