Round-up Tracks: MGMT, Gengahr, Fever Ray and more
All the biggest and best tracks of the week, rounded up and reviewed.
Good afternoon dear readers and welcome to another edition of Tracks! This week saw Gengahr announce their new album ‘Where Wildness Grows’ with second single ‘Mallory’, a bracing follow-up to comeback single ‘Carrion’. MGMT are also back, with ‘Little Dark Ages’, which toes the line between gothic and danceable.
Another return this month comes from Fever Ray, who is catchy and outrageous on ‘To The Moon And Back’. Abattoir Blues, meanwhile, are prepping a new EP called ‘Blinded’, and its title track is a huge, booming cut. What a week eh!
For our verdicts on all of this week’s biggest and most exciting tracks, all you need to do is scroll down. And if you’re itching to check out everything else out this week, step this way for DIY’s Listening Hub, and our Essential Playlist.
MGMT - Little Dark Age
Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser’s fourth MGMT album has been something of a long time coming. They’ve been teasing a return – which has been on the cards since 2015 - for quite some time, finally teasing on Twitter that they were set to return with their new album, ‘Little Dark Age’. It’s now been a decade since they released ‘Oracular Spectacular’ and speaking to Zane Lowe about the new record’s title track – their first in four years - they said: “it was the sort of chemistry, the kind of magic feeling we had when we started the band”.
But make no mistake: this is not a completely upbeat number that could soundtrack the summer like ‘Electric Feel’. Its slightly twisted video is enough to signal that. Instead, it’s a tread into darker territory. Sure, the synths are shimmering, the pair still bring out a melodic earworm of a hook and there’s a semi-baroque breakdown, but the underlying tone is often gloomier. Andrew in particular cuts a solitary figure in the chorus, as he sings in an almost deadpan manner that “you’ll see me standing all alone” on the stage, or saying that “the feelings start to rot/ One week at a time”.
Despite the bleakness embedded within it though, MGMT still manage to make it fun, toeing the line between danceable and moody. It’s a sure sign that this will be far from a dark age for the pair. (Eugenie Johnson)
Fever Ray - To The Moon And Back
“Hey, remember me?” asks Fever Ray in the opening moments of ‘To The Moon and Back’, “I’ve been busy working like crazy.” The first new solo material to come from The Knife’s Karin Dreijer under the moniker since 2009, an eight year wait makes this track a long time coming. It’s a point wittily satirised in the matching video, too; a menacing figure being awoken from the cryogenic deep-freeze in order to go to an, erm, BDSM tea party.
Turns out every last second of anticipation for new Fever Ray was worthwhile. While self-titled debut album ‘Fever Ray’ saw Karin Dreijer pitting poison-drenched lullabies against a foreboding sense of unease, ’To The Moon and Back’ grows a ferocious pair of fangs, and hits the murky depths of a strobe-flickered basement instead. Nicking its title from an oft-repeated idiom (I love you to the moon and back) Fever Ray makes all its all-out kinkiness and explicitness sound, well, very tender. Slinky and pulsing - along with being home to the most-definitely NSFW lyric “I want to run my fingers up your pussy” - this is an ecstatic return in the fearless ilk of Peaches; liberated, queer, sexy expression at its very best. (El Hunt)
Gengahr - Mallory
Gengahr’s comeback single ‘Carrion’ - a track we described as a track “[in] which the band take their sound to darker, heavier places” - opened the door wide open from what to expect from their second album, the now-announced ‘Where Wildness Grows’. ‘Mallory’ is the latest cut to be previewed from the record, and is a looser, more languid cut than the tight, rollocking ‘Carrion’.
Felix Bushe’s vocals interchange between low and springy and the higher falsetto of debut album ‘A Dream Outside’. John Victor’s light, space-y guitar line follows the vocals around like a ghost in the chorus before delivering a delightful flourish - it’s Gengahr at the very top of their game. (Will Richards)
SOPHIE - It’s Okay To Cry
An anonymous DJ emerging out of the PC Music collective and rarely showing her face, SOPHIE became one of the most sought-after producers of the past year. Lending a vital hand in Charli XCX’s intense ‘Vroom Vroom’ EP and co-producing the huge, provocative ‘Yeah Right’ alongside Flume for Vince Staples’ brilliant new album ‘Big Fish Theory’, it’s clear SOPHIE’s never been more in demand.
It’s a slight surprise, then, to see the producer to emerge from the shadows in such a striking way with details of a live show and new single ‘It’s Okay To Cry’. Replacing brute force and wonky rhythms with striking vulnerability, it’s a left turn into a whole new world that no-one really expected SOPHIE to make. A track that promises more and feels like it’s going round in circles a little, ‘It’s Okay To Cry’ is a track that points the way forward for SOPHIE, despite not providing all the goods itself. (Will Richards)
Abattoir Blues - Blinded
Last year, Abattoir Blues made a giant leap forward with their debut single ‘Sense’. Coming after a series of scrappy early efforts and relentless live shows, the track saw the band launch themselves into an entirely different world; a darker, angrier, infinitely more exciting one.
‘Blinded’ is its follow-up, and title track of the band’s upcoming new EP. A live favourite for years now, its release is a sign of the band playing catch-up, but doesn’t stop it being as relentlessly invigorating as ever. The track’s chorus, gang chants of “why do we even try?” over choppy guitars, proves a brilliant outlet for anger, channelling dissatisfaction until anything feels possible. (Will Richards)
Peluché - ‘Scared After All (Touch My Body
Peluché have made their own term for the type of music they make: “trip jam”. It’s a perfect description for their unique sound, a blend of jazz, hip hop, soul, pop, psychedelia and even Latin music into their own distinctive blend. It’s a genre they all but perfected on their EP of last year, ‘Utopia Village’, but on their latest single – the first on their own label Big Teddy Records – they push the concept to its furthest reaches.
‘Scared After All (Touch My Body)’ is effortlessly smooth, featuring wooden, clipped percussive elements and reverberating, snapping riffs that form a foundation for vocals that are airy, soaring and sultry at the same time. Through a combination of brass and synth, it steadily blossoms into life, eventually leading to an explosive climax where each element, once delicately placed, collide and bristle against each over as the emotion that’s simmered under the surface bursts forth. It takes the sound that Peluché have already crafted and takes it to exotic, dizzying new heights. (Eugenie Johnson)
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