There's something sharply sad about a band whose members say they wouldn't listen to their own self-titled album. Not only are they releasing work they don't enjoy, but it's a piece of work they chose to name for the band. MGMT's MGMT enters the world with that stigma.
The hooks and energy that made songs “Kids” and “Time To Pretend” such big hits are nowhere to be found. There's a similar confusing randomness that permeated Animal Collective's Centipede. It's not always clear why some of the sounds pop up where they do, and it's not in a way that makes you think, "Oh, that's interesting." The first track, “Alien Days” offers up the most melody on the record, and from there, it gets hazy. “Astro-Mancy” skitters and wobbles, and you get the impression that Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden got bored.
There's actually a lot of good stuff laid out here. The problem is that it gets buried or smeared. They dove so deep into psychedelia that everything got swirled around to the point of muddling it. Songs like “Your Life Is A Lie” and “Plenty Of Girls In The Sea” work better because Goldwasser and VanWyngarden backed off a bit. The latter of those two has a delightful Michael Jackson vibe to it.
What MGMT really works for is background music to a lazy, stoned afternoon. It's certainly not unlistenable, it's just so out there and lacking melodies that it works best as the soundtrack to being baked.