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Pity the band stuck in the last-chance saloon. Once you’ve squandered your success and your corporate paymasters are worried about the running costs of their shareholders’ yachts, you’re going to get reined in. So pity MGMT. After 2010’s Congratulations – a bitter, courgette-flavoured lozenge compared to the candyfloss pop of debut album Oracular Spectacular in 2007 – their self-titled third album surely sees the band coerced into that purgatory, forced to whip up more ironic electro anthems under the threat of losing their deal…

The hell it does. Despite their decimated fanbase, Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser have refused to back down from their ongoing musical odyssey. MGMT is something else entirely. It’s a dark, difficult album – perhaps the weirdest that a major label has released in years – that shares the electronic soundbed of Oracular, but little else. Throughout, the drums are distorted and glitchy, and synths drift woozily by, having more in common with Boards Of Canada’s acid mysticism than the glittering, glammy riffs of MGMT’s debut.

So the tie-dye T-shirts and proggy twists and turns may have gone, but this is undoubtedly the most mind-altering, psychedelic music MGMT have yet made. In a world where bands exist merely to bag the next phone ad soundtrack, the guts and wild abandon of the pair’s singular, foolhardy vision is rare indeed. In fact, as if it wasn’t clear enough already, MGMT aren’t here to please you, or their label – and if you think they owe you another ‘Kids’, you’re as misguided as the grannies who lost interest when The Beatles got into those jazz cigarettes and went a bit funny. — NME


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