Congratulations By MGMT
If you’re going through a phase of your life where you want your music to be one long compilation of weird sound effects - some worth tapping your foot to, some worth skipping right over and some worth crinkling up your face in confusion at - then MGMT is the band for you. In 2008, the Brooklyn duo released their debut, Oracular Spectacular and it was received with open arms - they made it to movie soundtracks, festivals and acquired troupes of adoring fans. Since then, it’s been said that Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden think they’ve gone too mainstream and they’re trying to alienate fans with their new album, Congratulations (It’s a similar situation to that of Kings Of Leon - although they chose selling out over maintaining independence).
So yes, “alienation” is the best word to sum up Congratulations. It’s weird, but it’s good. It’s a nine-track dose of craziness that holds a nightmare number (literally “Lady Dada’s Nightmare”) that you might think comes from a bad movie soundtrack from your childhood, a twelve-minute album-in-one-song (“Siberian Breaks”) and some radio-worthy tunes that are actually quite fun (“It’s Working” and “Brian Eno”).
The record seems to have a darker feel than their debut album did. Gone are the sweeping sounds of the hit single “Time To Pretend,” and the happy disco beat of “Electric Feel.” They’ve been replaced by the soft vocals of “Someone’s Missing,” and the melancholic sound of “It’s Working.” But the pastiche of vintage styles and unique sounds is still there, luckily, like the ‘60s soundtrack sound on “Song For Dan Treacy,” and the manic countdown at the end of “Flash Delirium.”
Congratulations runs the risk of getting a very lukewarm reception when it comes out on April 13th - it seems to be only for fervent fans of the band, or for very open-minded listeners. It’s a bit hard to stomach if all you’re looking for is a pretty melody to please your ear.
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