Time To Pretend // Columbia

Get a band. Get a couple of million sales. Get laid like a horny orangutang in heat. Get a supermodel wife. Get more drugs than you’d find in Doherty’s urine test. Get a ludicrously named child. Get a financially crippling divorce. Get another, even younger supermodel wife. Get arrested onstage for an act of gross public indecency with an underage badger. Get a bucket of painkillers and whiskey down your neck and get your head down for your never-ending dirt-nap by the age of 27. Get yourself a legend.

To live fast and die young or not: that’s been the question at the heart of rock’n’roll since Ladyguzzlin’ Mad Dog McSmackchild OD’d on barbiturates in 1954, and it’s the topic mused over by MGMT’s debut single ‘Time To Pretend’ – the most inspired chunk of post-modern rock irony this side of Amy Winehouse calling her next album ‘The Twelve Steps’.

“This is our decision, to live fast and die young/We’ve got the vision, now let’s have some fun/Yeah, it’s overwhelming but what else can we do?/Get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning news”, promise Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser. Exactly the sort of logic that did for Moon, Hendrix and (inexplicably) not MacGowan. But MGMT twist the rock’n’roll dream on its sizzled arse and destroy it with: “We’ll choke on our vomit and that will be the end/We were fated to pretend”.

So rock’n’roll is a lie, all our hedonistic heroes are fools and we should all take up gardening. Thank Christ, then, that this record sounds like the armies of US alt.pop – Flaming Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel and Mercury Rev mounted on an armoured Band Of Horses – charging into battle against the ’70s prog hordes of 10cc, Supertramp and David Bowie to the strains of ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ as played on a knackered Bontempi, and is thus the track of the year by several musical timewarps.

Mark Beaumont