Street Sounds: MGMT are daydream believers on third release

NYC based psychedelic art-rock duo MGMT pay tripped-out homage to the spirit of Syd Barrett on their third album, the self-titled MGMT.

NYC based psychedelic art-rock duo, MGMT pay tripped-out homage to the spirit of Syd Barrett on their third album, the self-titled MGMT.

The 10-song recording, sympathetically co-produced by Dave Fridmann, is a dense sprawl of airy sound that spills over into a hypnotic controlled mess.

The twosome, Andrew Van Wyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, allow entire songs to be buried in all manner of beautifully bent keyboard/ guitar effects. Some tracks will emerge or suggest themselves just long enough for a tune or pattern to become legible (Alien Days) – just long enough for a glimmer of interest to appear.

MGMT is ideally suited for background music – the daydream type. It’s too abstract to get a firm fix on as there’s no boundaries on which to focus. But that’s not the aim here.  One thing is obvious: MGMT isn’t looking for radio play (except on satellite) or commercial acceptability.

They sound like a spaced-out cousin to The Shins or Broken Bells with 1966 being year one.  The swirling sound waves they generate are captivating (Mystery Disease, Introspection) and confounding (Astro-Mancy) but never pedestrian.

The ozone is the destination; sound shaping is the engine; and heavy sound candy is the result.  It is fluorescent cotton candy mixed with some hallucinogenic substance.

They put the p in psychedelic.

Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician and freelancer who reviews the latest music releases for The Morning Star every Friday.