Eccentric New Yorkers MGMT are hoping their self-titled third album has the same appeal as their first, but if it doesn’t, they’re not worried.
Just five years ago the strains of Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden’s hits ‘Time to pretend’ or ‘Kids’ was on every radio station, blog, tv channel and any other media outlet you could think of.
As a result their first album ‘Oracular Spectacular’ has sold well over a million copies.
Their second album ‘Congratulations’ didn’t have the same kind of commercial success and left many critics scratching their heads at its inaccessibility.
According to Goldwasser this did not come as much of a surprise. He said: “We might have fantasised about some of those songs becoming hits, but it’s not surprising that they didn’t. None of those songs sound like anything that’s been a hit in the past 10 years. But then that’s not something we care about either.”
But in the three years since opinion appears to have shifted and the musical wind has changed direction.
VanWyngarden said: “I think people are now more accepting of our second album, because there are that many bands that have gone in that direction.
“We’re really not self-consciously trying to make hit songs, we’re trying to make songs we love that can connect with people, and we want them to go to as big an audience as possible.”
Now approaching their third album the pair are looking to recapture their original feel. VanWyngarden said: “To make this album we wanted to get back to those college days. Just getting together and making sounds with no goal in mind.”
They recorded hundreds of hours of unstructured music and brought in former Mercury Rev founder and production maestro Dave Fridmann.
“Dave is very good at recognising things and editing,” says Goldwasser. “He’s very good at trying new things without thinking of the goal at the end of it. It’s important not to feel like you’re stuck with one idea because that’s the only thing you came up with. We had hundreds of ideas to try.”
The resulting album, then, doesn’t dial down the experimentation, but their ear for melody makes the new release every bit as accessible as their first.
VanWyngarden said: “Finding those deep connections with people justifies what we do, and that’s always going to be more satisfying than a chart position.
“This time, we know MGMT is really, really good, so we’re very excited for people to hear it.”