MGMT, ICA, London

ICA, London

Listen to MGMT's records and they sound like anything but an ordinary rock band - Brooklyn boys Ben Goldwasser and Andrew Vanwyngarden have committed some genuinely out-there future-pop sounds to tape for their album Oracular Spectacular, full of fluorescent psychedelic swirls and ear-tickling sonic tricks; the video for their new single, Time to Pretend, is nigh-on seizure-inducing in its kaleidoscopic riot of images. But somehow, when the five-piece (expanded for touring) hit the stage tonight, they instantly seem a lot more conventional than expected.

From the bass player's silver lamé shirt to singer Vanwyngarden's toned-down approximations of Marc Bolan's shagpile perm and dreamy-eyed demeanour, they look every inch the 70s revival band. And indeed, as soon as their twin-guitar jangle-jams kick off, the sound is vintage Anglophile psyche-pop - a bit Bowie, a bit Pink Floyd, sticking for the most part to the flowery, paisley end of things. It is well done, with some great grandstanding wig-outs, but that sense of bold, barmy futurism is not much in evidence.

Once, on the terrific song Electric Feel, something of that sound comes to the fore, as the guitars let the keyboards take the lead and a very different feeling is achieved. Perhaps it is just that they have moved into 80s pastiche instead - a kind of ELO/Hall and Oates angle - but it sounds fresher in the context of the other material, and it is a shame that it seems like a one-off. There is plenty to enjoy here tonight - good songs, played well, with some style - but somehow the unorthodoxy and charisma that MGMT undoubtedly possess never really shines through.

· At Academy, Dublin, tonight. Box office: 353 01 877 9999.

Tom Hughes

The GuardianTramp

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