For many people, there may not be a lot of reasons to be grateful for Donald Trump. But supposedly, Little Dark Age by MGMT is one of them. Speaking to Rolling Stone last month, the band detailed how Trump’s triumph in the presidential election led them towards making an album fans might enjoy a bit more. “Apparently, we were more inspired to write pop music after evil took over the world,” explained the duo’s lead vocalist, Andrew VanWyngarden.
More than 10 years after the release of their psychedelic smash hit Oracular Spectacular, MGMT have returned with a blissful synth triumph that will be more than welcomed by fans. The fame that came with their 2007 debut led the band to thrust themselves further and further into impenetrable absurdity, producing two albums that even the most open-minded of listeners struggled with.
This album doesn’t get off to the best of starts. Opener ‘She Works Out Too Much’ is jarring with an ultimately empty attempt at social commentary. But lead single ‘Little Dark Age’ brings a bizarre but inviting hook which provides welcome relief and the album develops into a melodic and, in some places beautiful, cohesive piece which invites the listener in rather than doing everything it can to isolate.
‘Me and Michael’ and ‘One Thing Left to Try’ stand out as the most instantly likeable tracks on the album, providing 80s-style euphoric pop tunes that will go down well at live performances. Tracks like ‘TSLAMP’ provide a subtler substance to the album, whilst the final track ‘Hand it Over’ is a more obvious nod to the political shifts that sparked the album’s creation.
Little Dark Age isn’t quite the psychedelic bumper that Oracular Spectacular was, but times have changed. The album is a fresh and modern leap in the right direction with radio-friendly hits too. Cheers, Donald.