Thoughts on Congratulations, the new MGMT album

22 Mar

Cat surfing.

YDP line: This is a spectacular album, but if you like MGMT because of “Kids” or “Time to Pretend” you won’t find much of what you’re looking for. Remember all those songs in between on Orracular Spectacular? Yeah, that’s this album.

Given the timeline of MGMT’s rise to stardom (The Time to Pretend EP was released in 2005 and an early version of “Kids” appeared on a 2004 EP) its clear that, while they had fun writing songs like “Time to Pretend” and “Kids,” by the time Orracular Spectacularwas released their musical tastes had moved beyond the childishly simple (albeit wonderfully fun) to a more psychedelic late 60’s sound. Congratulations simply dives deeper into that sound. There are no poppy electronic singles on this album, but you will find a tight mix of great music.

There are no classic singles on this album, a very daring move given the mainstream success that the duo found with their first release. The track “I Found a Whistle” is perhaps the closest thing to a catchy single off this album and plays similarly to the slower music on Orracular Spectacular. My favorite track is the “Siberian Breaks” that seems like no fewer than 3 songs mashed together in one wandering ballad.

I applaud MGMT for trying to escape from the shadow of their debut, Orracular Spectacular. The runaway success of the album behind the three singles “Kids,” “Time to Pretend,” and “Electric Feel” could scare any band into thinking they needed to deliver more singles for the masses to keep everybody happy. In fact it seems as though MGMT is doing the exact opposite by letting everybody stream the whole album and eschewing the release of any singles (something I believe they would still do even if there were another “Kids” on here). Bravo.

Looking for influences, I believe Jefferson Airplane and The Peanut Butter Conspiracy are two bands that come to mind when breaking down Congratulations. Also, given what Van Wyngarden and Goldwasser have been saying about the album and the whole space-rock angle, I’m convinced that the 5th dimension’s single “Aquarius/Love Shine in” definitely played a part.

But really, this tracks sums up the overall feeling of Congratulations…hmm but maybe i’m reaching…

YDP gives Congratulations 4 Ascots / 5

For the next 3 weeks (until the album releases) you can stream MGMT’s album on their site.

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