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MGMT - 'Alien Days'

A weird and kind of wonderful return

Andrew Whitton/NME
Photo: Andrew Whitton/NME
The last couple of years haven't exactly been kind to MGMT. Falling from indie-disco dominance quicker than you can say 'CSS', Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser tackled the 'difficult second album' issue by ignoring everyone that liked their first album, chucked in a few rambling live shows and topped it off with last year's gig at the Guggenheim – seemingly proving that the bouncing synth-lines of 'Kids' really were just a strange anomaly in their prog-laden masterplan. Now comes the ominously titled 'Alien Days' - debuted recently at Columbia's Festival Estéreo Picnic. Yet, whilst the track is unlikely to be troubling charts any time soon, it has enough flashes of oddball brilliance to remind us that there’s still plenty to care about.

The frustration often caused by MGMT’s stranger forays isn’t to do with their lack of commercial chirp, but that the pair’s psych-tinged, noodling tendencies often take on the un-filtered, meandering quality of throwing a shitload of paint at a wall and seeing what sticks. Here, however, amidst the paisley haze and sprawling structure ('Alien Days' clocks in around the six-minute mark) we get glimpses of greatness - not least in the half-spoken, sci-fi intro that slots somewhere in the realm of early Pink Floyd soundtracking the end of The Rocky Horror Show. A weird and kind of wonderful return.

Lisa Wright

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