New MGMT Single Is Weird And Wonderful, As Usual

MGMT’s got a couple of things going for them that make them really stand out among the Indie Rock contenders. The first is a punky sense of humor, sometimes perverse and sometimes morbid, a real plus when so many bands take themselves so seriously these days. The second thing is a bold sense of adventure. These guys are not afraid to take sharp left turns in their musical career arc, or even within a single song, as they explore different treatments and approaches. They are smart, they are weird, and they’ve got attitude.

They began more than ten years ago as an electronica art music duo, and since then have expanded in size and scope, ambling about between 80s pop, twisted folk Rock, psychedelic R&B, and strange stuff too hard to describe. There’s something oddly compelling about their music even when it’s too far out there. It’s like listening to a cross between the Flaming Lips without the bombast and 10cc without the finesse.

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And they certainly don’t oversaturate the market with their material, releasing just three albums in nine years. In February they will be dropping their first album since 2013, to be called Little Dark Age. From it they released the title track a couple of months ago, a lugubrious little number that conjures up the Pet Shop Boys, but one that also signals a move a little further into the dark side, as if the album title didn’t already give it away.

They’ve always been a little preoccupied with death, and their just-released second single “When You Die” takes that preoccupation to bizarre and hilarious lengths, and I am loving it. This one falls into the psychedelic folk Rock category, with a couple of bizarre chord changes that really work, and a middle vocal harmony section that is simply amazing. Just don’t watch the video if you’re squeamish.

Listening to these guys always makes me think of the Hunter S. Thompson quote “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”. I can’t wait to see how weirdly wonderful the rest of the album will be.


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