MGMT – Loss of Life (Album Review)

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Among the batch of Indie Rock bands that emerged during the 2000s, MGMT proves to be one of the most enduring. The American outfit had big hits with songs like 2007’s “Kids,” last they joined the charts was in 2018 with their fourth record Little Dark Age; which peaked at #35 on the U.S. Billboard 200. Now, in 2024, MGMT is set to return and unleash yet again a full-length opus.

Originally forming back in 2002, and out of Middletown, Connecticut, as MGMT – founders Andrew VanWyngarden (lead vocals, lead & rhythm guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion) and Benjamin Goldwasser (vocals, keyboards, sampling, rhythm guitar, percussion) – have released five studio albums in total, from 2007’s Oracular Spectacular, to the latest due out on February 24th, Loss of Life.

Slated for release via Mom + Pop Music, Loss of Life is produced by MGMT, along with Patrick Wimberly (Solange, Lil Yachty, Joji), while being mixed by MGMT longtime collaborator Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Spoon); who incidentally mixed the band’s past four full-lengths. A total ten tracks that are fitting to what MGMT are known for, it all begins with a short, spoken-word bit prelude then segues with the relaxing, laidback, and folky single “Mother Nature.” 

Following next is the slow, melodramatic fuzz of the most recently released piano-led single “Dancing in Babylon” which features Christine and the Queens. The mood then becomes more subtle and nostalgic with the Sophisti-pop stylized “People in the Streets.” MGMT then changes the pace and style with the single “Bubblegum Dog”; which exudes echoes of Pavement (“Cut Your Hair”). And then there is “Nothing to Declare,” which has a whiff of ’70s Folk Rock vibes a la Bread or Simon & Garfunkel but in a modern context. 

Thereafter, “Nothing Changes” then leaps two decades after; it will fit a playlist that includes ’90s Alternative Rock ballads like Soul Asylum’s “Misery” and Dinosaur Jr.’s “Outta Hand.” A somber, nature-evoking track then plays in the form of “The Phradie’s Song,” to be followed by the mellotronic sensibilities of “I Wish I Was Joking.” Finally, the duo wraps up Loss of Life with its proper title-track–reflective, starry-eyed, mesmerizing, soothing…with a surprising grandiose orchestral fanfare near the end.

In the very competitive and dynamic state of music in various guises in the current era, to cause a stir in the scene has become extra challenging. With Loss of Life, MGMT is simply securing its place in the genre that it first made waves in almost two decades ago by further broadening its sonic and stylistic landscape. That is why Cryptic Rock gives their latest work 4 out of 5 stars.

MGMT - Loss of Life
MGMT – Loss of Life / Mom + Pop Music (2024) 



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