Album Review

MGMT - Loss Of Life

They continue to plough their strange pop furrow with aplomb.

MGMT - Loss Of Life

In the press notes for this fifth record from MGMT, the comedian Tom Scharpling proclaims the New York duo “five-for-five, which last time I checked gets you into virtually any Hall of Fame.” Few would agree with him on that 100% hit rate and ironically, their insistence on staying true to themselves has largely meant they’ve avoided that sort of hyperbole ever since they eschewed the idea of repeating ‘Oracular Spectacular’’s penchant for big-hitting singles and gave us the charmingly off-kilter oddity ‘Congratulations’ instead, way back in 2010. It freed up Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden to pursue their own, deeply idiosyncratic musical path, and those who checked out after ‘Congratulations’ arrived free of another ‘Kids’ or ‘Time to Pretend’ might be surprised to hear that not only are MGMT still a going concern but a genuine creative force, on the basis of the handsome and assured ‘Loss of Life’. They’ve become remarkably adept at taking classic pop structures and inflecting them with smart new ideas; ‘Mother Nature’ has a touch of glam-rock stomp to it, ‘Dancing in Babylon’ and the softly anthemic ‘People in the Streets’ reimagine Tears for Fears’ stately synth rock for the 21st Century, and the standout ‘Nothing Changes’ mixes its swooning balladry with impressionistic saxophone-led interludes, all the while nodding to ‘Disintegration’-era The Cure. Throughout, Andrew’s eccentric lyricism leans away from the paranoia of ‘MGMT’ and ‘Little Dark Age’ and towards a search for love in the midst of darkness; quietly, he and Ben continue to plough their strange pop furrow with aplomb.

Tags: MGMT, Reviews, Album Reviews

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