MGMT - COLUMBIA
FILTER Grade: 82%
By Adam Valeiras on September 17, 2013
With each new album, MGMT redefines not only its sound but its fundamental approach to songwriting. On Oracular Spectacular, each song was its own entity—demonstrations of a novel, natural talent for building smart, incredibly catchy choruses and verses. Congratulations was similar; each song stood on its own, but the individual efforts built into something cohesive and allusively conceptual, begging the listener to allow one to sweep into the next, to welcome a sort of hypnotic trance amidst the wildly uniform psychedelic chaos (remember “Siberian Breaks”?). And now comes MGMT, the self-titled third release. As artfully crafted as day one, the new record tones down the over-stimulation that was Congratulations, but still retains the nonsensical patterning, the roller-coaster divagations; even for the most acute of listeners, this is an album hard to grasp at first, let alone on second or third listens. Pieces begin to fall in place: “Astro-Mancy” and its ambient drones; the recorder-screams on “I Love You Too, Death”; the hopelessness surrounding “Mystery Disease” or “Plenty of Girls in the Sea.” The overall tone is a drastic comedown, sonically and thematically, but the product contains the same ingenuity fans have come to expect. The band still holds to no precedent but its own.