MGMT | Little Dark Age | Album Review
Record Label: Columbia Records
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
MGMT has created an album full of songs that sound nothing like MGMT songs. In this instance, that’s not a bad thing. Little Dark Age, their fourth album, still has their signature undercurrent of darkness, but these songs are revitalized by the duo’s ability to write ear-grabbing hooks.
Evident in the opening track “She Works Out Too Much,” the tune oozes the tiresome nature of online dating underneath jazzercise beats and an opening of an 80s aerobic-class narration. It doesn’t seem as though a song about a dating app would make for a catchy track, but the fuzzy synths make the dizzying concept of dating even more ridiculous and endearing.
By “Me and Michael,” there’s no question that the listener has fallen into the ending prom scene of Pretty In Pink, channeling Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark or Oingo Boingo in Weird Science. The whole album feels like MGMT hit every preset synth beat on a Casio keyboard, but surprisingly, the retro kitsch works to their advantage.
In a modern twist, the cryptic track “TSLAMP,” which stands for “Time Spent Looking At My Phone,” dissects an affliction MGMT feels far too many suffer from. The track is an addictive balance of synth and funk with a good amount of sci-fi-sounding phasers and flares.
At their fourth album, MGMT is clearly not afraid to depart from their 2000s sound with an effervescent trip to the depressive side of the 80s amid bright spots, and on Little Dark Age, they pull it off well.