This is the most joyless album since Burzum last committed the sound of a burning church to tape.

With 2010’s Congratulations, MGMT had threatened to slash and burn through the fans who had clambered aboard with Time To Pretend like they were so much Indonesian rainforest, and here they greet anyone in search of a good time with a terse smack around the ears. Trying to throw off the shackles of expectation is an admirable thing, but MGMT is a failure in every sense of the word; by completely disowning their pop instincts, they’re left with empty weirdness and self-indulgent frippery that makes Zaireeka feel like Fleetwood Mac. When they do finally offer up a hook in Your Life Is A Lie, they repeat it to the point of sarcasm, as if to say, sure, they could just knock some pop tunes out, but they’re not going to.

MGMT dares you to believe in the existence of a genius the band isn’t willing to share, but they are trying to prove that they are artists first and tunesmiths second, they obviously have no idea who they are, and as a result this record is 45 minutes of a profoundly lonely identity crisis. It may be shorter than an AA meeting, but you get free coffee at those.

Rating: 1 & 1/2 stars  


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