MGMT - Flash Delirium

Antonio Rowe 13/04/2010

Rating: 4.5/5

The conundrum with MGMT is their fan base consists of people who only like two or three songs, ('Kids, 'Electric Feel' and 'Time To Pretend'), three hit singles with massive hooks and infectious pop melodies. So with the majority of their audience made up of fair weather fans, and the band claiming that their new album Congratulations will be a single-free album, it's pretty easy to understand why people think MGMT are hell-bent on committing commercial suicide.

Contrary to these statements though, a track called 'Flash Delirium' is their first release from 'Congratulations'. And it's a bit of a mindbender. A theatrical/directionless/psychedelic/pop/rock drama. There's not one infectious hook in sight, the pop melodies of yore have gone and in their place is an anti-melody that has no discernable direction with just about every genre in sight sampled, from the doo-wop flutes to the lo-fi pop electro beats and dense synthesizers.

As for the vocals, they switch from group vocals that are reminiscent of '50s surf pop to Andrew VanWyngarden's feminine falsetto. And the lyrics? They're a mixture of the bizarre and absurd:

'And if we dance
Until the heart explodes
It'll make this place ignite!'

Despite it all for some reason I really like it and after a couple of listens it sounds just as genius as it is outlandish and eccentric. 'Flash Delirium' is similar to what The Flaming Lips and Animal Collective are doing at the moment, although MGMT seem to be more influenced by older psychedelic rock than contemporary bands: the song writing and melody for me is definitely influenced by Pink Floyd of the late 1960s.

If it was MGMT's mission to alienate their fair-weather fans then they've certainly succeeded.