Tuesday, 26 November 2013

UPCOMING! MGMT at Metropolis


UPCOMING! MGMT at Metropolis  |  Monday December 9th

I repeat it a lot these days: we live at a time when the proliferation of dreampop, that subchapter of pop rock that is full of reverby vocals, airy synths, and thick electronic drums, is quite obvious. Lots of musicians - some of them great, some of them not so great - are choosing that floating aesthetic and running wild with it.

I enjoy a lot of these ethereal, atmospheric acts. I dig Toro y Moi, Washed Out, Trails and Ways, the Smith Westerns, all projects that, in my sense, fall under that dreampop umbrella in some capacity. It really is a qualifier that describes an overall vibe and points to a few key elements (i.e. synths), and it can thus be attributed to lots of different styles.

However, if I now enjoy dreampop a whole lot, it was not always the case. I used to not be hooked by it at all, finding it plastic-sounding. And then someone made me listen to MGMT.

That's when I realize that, with great lyrics, crafty melodies, and some attention to detail, great things can be done with a weird palette of synth sounds and vaporous vocals. I must have listened to Time to Pretend about a million times. It really is MGMT that got me into that brand of synth-filled pop rock in general, and thus into dreampop.

The release of the band's second LP, Congratulations! (2010), only confirmed my appreciation of that kind of vibe. In it, the band is far more psychedelic, a tad more subtle. Its members stay away from sheer eye-candy songs that would have been likely to turn into hit singles. Instead they present a much more nuanced, much more tweaked-out sound than on their debut album. It's a bit more complex, the fruit of a refreshing evolution.

The band's third album, simply titled MGMT, is a continuation of that psychedelic rock atmosphere. Prior to the album being made, frontman Ben Goldwasser told American Songwriter that he'd like the it to contain "a decent number of songs [...] that can easily be extended or have sections that could turn into a really trance-y, repetitive thing live".

He clearly achieved his goal. MGMT's self-titled effort is complex, it is progressive, odd-sounding, unsettling, percussive, punchy. It is at times a true soundscape of the uneasy nights and the gloomy dreaming, and at other times the perfect soundtrack to a power walk around the block. It's good stuff, that's for sure.

The psychedelic unit by excellence of this day and age (doubt me? check out their website) will be at Metropolis on December 9th. It promises to be one hell of a multi-sensorial, Electric-Kool-Aid-Acid-Test-esque experience. I warmly suggest being there.

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