Little Dark Age

It can be tough to escape a hit. There are certainly worse things in the world, but it is a thing. MGMT’s decade-old debut, Oracular Spectacular, was chock-full of them, most notably “Electric Feel” and “Time to Pretend.” Subsequent releases have strayed further and further from the bright, glitzy pop, and moved toward subdued pop with hazy layers and softer vocal melodies. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and Little Dark Age continues down that very path with a collection of subtle yet still sparkling synth-pop tunes that never rise above a cool vibe. The lyrical fun is still there, as on “TSLAMP,” revealed as an acronym for Time Spent Looking At My Phone. There aren’t many standout pop-candy hits, which might be hard to accept for those still under that 2008 spell. However, there is meticulous synth layering, nice horn placements and an overall pleasantness that’s an escape all its own.