MGMT returns with its third, eponymous album, which turns out to be a a strange collection of songs; dense, yet spaced out.
Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser obviously know their psychedelic rock discographies: this is supposed to be their Smiley Smile, or Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake, right? (I mean, they even cover "Introspection" by uber-obscure Faine Jade). Here is how they probably picture it: when MGMT started out, America was still innocent, and crowds of pop fans were wooed by a string of likable hits. Now, in MGMT's world, it's 1968, and music is supposed to be weird. Those who don't like it are too lame to understand.
Don't get me wrong, I love Smiley Smile and Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake. Those albums had some great songs on them. MGMT does not. It is a thick, ambient mess, containing nothing that is memorable.
The two singles, "Your Life is a Lie" and "Cool Song No. 2" stick out, for different reasons. "Cool Song" sounds like an outtake from The Clash's Combat Rock, but with a modern, cluttered production and evil, Madness-like chromatic melodies. "Your Life is a Lie" has a tone reminiscent of something off a late Bright Eyes-album. The guitar riff, a distant relative of The Kink's "You Really Got Me Going," is pleasant. But the rest of the songs are devoid of content; just hollow, overproduced shells.
I am open to the possibility that the record will grow as I get to know its weird ways. Perhaps in the future I will look back on myself as some square hater, but I doubt it. MGMT is not a creative milestone, it is a parenthesis.