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September 16, 2013 | by  | in Arts Music |
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MGMT by MGMT

Elise = odd track numbers, Hugh = even track numbers.

1) ‘Alien Days’ – Shock horror, MGMT opens their new album with a childlike voice singing about “the place where the spirit was slain”. Yup, the band is still stuck in 1969. The relative stability of the rhythm and chord progressions tricks the listener into thinking that the album might be kind of normal, and serves as a pleasant and enjoyable song.

2) ‘Cool Song No. 2’ – This song, like the rest of the album, has some eclectic instrumentation—like MGMT looked at an encyclopaedia of musical instruments and decided to use everything in it. I’m not going to attempt to guess the source of all of these noises, but some of them sound like farm animals. Andrew VanWyngarden’s fairy-like voice lightly croons over the top. It feels like he’s talking to me telepathically.

3) ‘Mystery Disease’ – The fuzziness of the timbres in this song is reminiscent of Tame Impala; a comparison both bands are probably sick of. As the title suggests, the lyrics are quite dark, even scary at times, but this just makes its themes more alluring.

4) ‘Introspection’ – ‘Introspection’ is a relatively conventional piece of music—the important word in this sentence being “relatively”. There are still weird wobbly sounds surrounding the simple harmony. But at least I don’t feel like I’m lost on a rainbow LSD ocean, with the firm ground of this pop chorus to stand on.

5) ‘Your Life is a Lie’ – The wannabe punk-rock sound of this song is a cool idea. But the incessant repetitiveness of the drums sounds like a jackhammer pounding your eardrums MAKE IT STAHP MAKE IT STAHP.

6) ‘A Good Sadness’ – This is one of my favourites on the album—listen to how those textures build! I feel like I’m in a dream scene in a Hayao Miyazaki movie, robots have stolen the score to the soundtrack and they’re performing it in a cathedral. The distorted drums give the song an alluring bite.

7) ‘Astro-Mancy’ – Trippyyyyy duuuuuuude. Unlike track five, the prominence of the drums is not aggressive but actually rather soothing in this song. I suggest listening to it in the dark.

8) ‘I Love You Too, Death’ – This song doesn’t use the hard, semi-distorted drums that dominate much of the rest of the album. Instead, it uses what sounds like pots and pans. VanWyngarden’s voice is hidden deep within a kaleidoscopic soundscape. The song crescendos, and we hear Beach Boys– like harmony before the song drops away, leaving us challenged and slightly numb. DEEP.

9) ‘Plenty of Girls in the Sea’ – In a dramatic turn of events, MGMT get happy! Well, that’s what I thought before I actually read the lyrics: Buzz. Gone. Nevertheless, Andrew’s voice mockingly reassures his listeners to not worry about anything ‘cos everything sucks anyway, which is actually a fantastic life lesson, kids. One of the highlights of the album.

10) ‘An Orphan of Fortune’ – This song is introduced with interestingly jazzy drums before dropping into a live rock-beat that could’ve been played by Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham. Like, woah, listen to those motherfuckers. There is a moment of respite, and we hear a lone harmonica. We are light years away from the electro-pop duo who wrote ‘Kids’.

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