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Review: MGMT remains unpredictable on 3rd album

September 18, 2013

MGMT, “MGMT” (Columbia)

Leave your preconceptions at the door — the new self-titled MGMT album is worlds apart from the group’s debut “Oracular Spectacular” and 2010′s “Congratulations.”

Gone are the days when the Connecticut boys sing of models and drugs. “MGMT” is dark. The melody on the record’s debut single “Your Life is a Lie” is uplifting with cow bell added to up the tempo. But the lyrics are cutting. “Count your friends on your hands, now look again, they’re not your friends,” lead singer Andrew VanWyngarden sings with an Eels-esque sardonicism.

Lead-off song “Alien Days” is as close to the old MGMT material as you’re going to get. It opens disconcertingly, with strange female vocals, and then drifts into a lazy, slow drum beat and guitar strum. VanWyngarden wryly distorts his voice when singing, “I love those alien days.”

The album has weird moments: “A Good Sadness” sounds like computer glitches before VanWyngarden’s voice creeps in and under, and a cover of Faine Jade’s “Introspection” has an interlude of what seems to be a whistle, juxtaposed with drums and synth, all building up to the chorus.

If you’re expecting pop music like “Kids” or “Electric Feel,” you won’t find it here. But spent time with “MGMT” and you’ll find it’s an interesting concoction.

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