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Album Review: MGMT – Loss Of Life

3 min read
Album Review: MGMT - Loss Of Life

For a long time now, MGMT have been known for their unique blend of indie pop and electronic music. Their 2008 debut Oracular Spectacular housed a number of highly successful hits, and while it seemed to take them a to remove themselves from its shadow, their 2018 album Little Dark Age reinvigorated both their sound and career. Now, after a six year gap, they’ve returned with a new album, and a slightly new direction. 

Beginning with part two of the title track, Loss Of Life immediately asserts itself, or rather inserts itself, as something fresh for the duo. The plucky synths are still there, but there’s the maturity that came through on Little Dark Ages and a mix of organic instrumentation that gives the track, and the album, a warmth. This leads perfectly into the first single Mother Nature. This song represents this change excellently, the 70s aesthetic melding with the modern, off-kilter production to create a nostalgic feeling. Dancing In Babylon featuring Christine and the Queens eases the listener into a wholly 80s affair, complete with chorus-heavy guitars and reverb-laden drums. It’s a pitch-perfect duet between the pair that doesn’t compromise building of tension to get to the powerful chorus. People In The Streets gives off a similar vibe, but spends even more time building. It engulfs the listener in sound, the ending especially releasing all the tension in such a satisfying way that you’re sad when it’s over. 

Bubblegum Dog and followup Nothing To Declare return to the indie roots that permeate MGMT’s back catalogue, mixing live guitars and drums with glittery synths. The latter especially takes on a hypnotising quality that takes you on a psychedelic journey. Nothing Changes is a meandering ballad featuring the late addition of a trumpet solo, whilst Phradie’s Song strips back most of the instrumentation until the three-thirty mark, hitting the listener with a sublime soundscape that whirls around until fading out. The albums concludes with I Wish I Was Joking, a combination of the previous two tracks, keeping the dreaminess alive, and part one of the title track. This final sweeping ballad brings the themes of the album to a close, whilst also in a way connecting back up to the intro track in melody and sound.

MGMT have consistently shown that despite the large amount of time between works they are an ever-evolving group with increasingly creative and fascinating ideas. As far as the songwriting is concerned, both lyrically and structurally they show that they are gifted, but it’s the way the songs are presented that make them stand out among other bands, both of their time and today. Loss Of Life was a long time coming but definitely worth the wait.