MGMT - Congratulations
If MGMT were trying to polarise opinion, they've succeeded with a compellingly weird new album.
Following their meteoric 2008 debut Oracular Spectacular, Congratulations is the altogether more difficult second album. It sheds much of the formula of their more popular dance tracks and takes on a new experimental feel.
Songs like "Future Reflections" from the first album are a better guide to the new stuff than commercial singles "Kids" or "Time to Pretend".
Lead singer Andrew Van Wyn-Garden told Triple J that originally Congratulations was made without any singles and that the album is meant to be listened to as a whole.
This sort of approach has left MGMT fans divided. Some have felt let down by the lack of dance-pop songs, while others have been entranced by the new, more conceptual arrangements.
"Siberian Breaks" is the best example of the album's abstract approach. It's an ambitious 12-minute track ranging from folky acoustic guitars to digitally altered vocals and distortion. The best part about the song is that it makes you want to listen to it again and again.
Nods to Brian Eno and Lady Gaga follow in the next two songs before the title track closes the album in an appropriately strange, hypnotic style.
In 2008 Oracular Spectacular catapulted MGMT into the spotlight to become one of the planet's hippest bands overnight. "Kids" accumulated 27 million views on youtube (at last count) and here in Victoria the band closed the year by selling out Festival Hall and headlining the Meredith Music Festival.
There was never a lot of room for the band to grow, but fortunately the direction they've taken with Congratulations is far from a decline.
Articles Written by Josh F
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