MGMT step away from the confines of indie sleaze

They’re a name that never really left anyone’s lips (if you were paying close enough attention) but now, thanks to Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn and kids on TikTok, MGMT have had a total resurgence with their 2007 belter ‘Time to Pretend’ being played in probably every public setting you could think of. All in good timing too, as the release of their latest album Loss of Life follows this refresh of popularity. 

Gone are the days of making sleazy guitar hits; the band have opted for something a little more minimalistic on this record. They’ve swapped synthesisers for acoustic guitars – for the most part, anyway. ‘Mother Nature’ feels like a long lost Nick Drake track and ‘Phradie’s Song’ is fit for soundtracking the super sad pastels of a Wes Anderson flick. 

For a pair that have done so well at practically remaining anonymous figures for much of their career, it’s only possible to imagine how it must feel to reach your highest level of success after years of hard slog in an era where everyone wants to know everything about anyone. ‘Nothing to Declare’ compares the state of celebrity to boring customs forms filled out to list off the heap of stuff you returned from your holidays with. No one likes doing it and honestly, who could blame them? 

If there’s anyone we can count on to get a little deep, it’s MGMT because even their happiest songs get a little bit sad. ‘Nothing Changes’ gets existential with a chorus that might be the pair’s saddest ever (‘If I could change then I wouldn’t be here/Oh nothing’s gonna change believe me…’). You almost want to laugh out loud by the time the track reaches its jazzy instrumental break in the final two minutes but it feels oddly like the most MGMT thing ever to follow up some of your saddest lyrics ever with something so funky. 

Boasting a collaboration from Christine and the Queens and featuring none other than Sean Ono Lennon on piano for ‘Bubblegum Dog’, Loss of Life ultimately spends its duration proving that you don’t have to stay within the confines of one genre nor do you have to push the boundaries of celebrity to make a good record.

Haiku Review:
Trading in synth leads
For some minimalism
The “kids” have returned

MGMT’s new record is out now on all major streaming platforms. Pick up a physical copy via Bandcamp.

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