Little Dark Age

MGMT | Little Dark Age

Label:  Columbia
Release Date: February 09, 2018
Rating:  3.5 out of 5
Grab/Stream This At:
February 26, 2018
By Amber Ryann
If you are still thriving off of the sound of “Electric Feel” via your favorite radio station, you may categorize the bands newest record Little Dark Age as unsolicited. Not straying far away from the experimental fluidity of their previous album, MGMT picks up from where they left off renewing a chapter of raw and captivating music. Although aesthetically pleasing from an earshot, whether the album provides true incentive while listening is hard to say. The lack of consistency and or feel of direction leaves you curious as to whether this is a mixtape or an asset to the bands moderate discography.

“She Works Out Too Much” opens the journey within the album submerging listeners into a waterfall synthesis that zooms around your headspace. The baseline tightly tacks alongside the percussion and drowns in atmospheric synth pop vibe. A female voice that chimes in somewhat rhetorically feeds into a seriously cheesy lyrical dialogue. This may be the only instance where redundancy is excused due to the fun-feeling energetic composition, but at the same time the song can easily be construed as a humorous approach to confronting dating fatigue. This is not the type of album that can be felt out after listening to the first song, especially in regards to the style of the mix.

The title track takes second on the track list. This track in particular relays a sense of familiarity with the eccentric roots of MGMT but drives dark emotions. A “new age” of members Andrew VanWyngarden, and Ben Goldwasser seems concurrent but expectations are unfulfilled when comparing the duo’s current sound to previous material. Every moment within the album may be urning to splurge on a new heap of their glitzy bright indie pop but the album reveals an apologetic start to something new regardless of expectations from fans and tastemakers, regardless of early hits that throttled the duo into stardom.

Over the course of a decade, the duo’s fanbase has noticeably dwindled. That becomes overtly apparent when the album starts to reveal feelings of uncertainty and the acceptance that later surfaces. In the song “When You’re Small;” an acoustic guitar plays, accompanied by piano in what opens unexpected room for the vocals compared to other tracks. Flowing in and out of an aggressive psych rock approach and progressing theatrically into a ballad like state. The last verse “When you're small, you don’t have very far to fall” truly conceptualizes that the band is familiar with the falling of their stature and notably has relinquished an intensive new creative freedom. VanWyngarden and Goldwasser unapologetically expose their 80’s infatuation in what seems to have been held in a pressurized cooker years prior.

“Me and Michael” packs a dance-rock punch with an undertone similar to something you’d hear on an album by The Curee, soft spoken yet catchy and passionate. Opening line “Not everyone can be like me and Michael” has you wondering from start to finish who Michael may be if not a physical partner or entity. This in itself seems to have intentionally been written with ambiguity and creative confidentiality. The clean clear cut tonality of the guitar is potent and seamless and the reverbs have a tight tail that makes the vocals pleasant to digest. In the entirety of the album, there is evolution from a playful strut from an 80’s era to a relevant piece of contextual art. Overall efforts to innovate can be deemed timeless or directionless but one of the many things that can be appreciated is the progression in terms of structure and lyrical content.

Previous releases may have been recognized as the pursuit of sound but Little Dark Age feels more like positive reinforcement for the groups new found direction.
Amber Ryann is a Los Angeles singer-songwriter and multi-genre tastemaker for musiqtone. Receiving notable mention by Substream, Impose, Music Connection and more within her experience. Ryann sheds light on critiques with the perspective of the artist in mind, fetching to retrieve true intent and incentive to listeners.
Tori Kelly

Tori Kelly

Tori Kelly

Tori Kelly

Tori Kelly

We Are Scientists

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