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MGMT- CONGRATULATIONS (Album Review)

April 13, 2010

Progressive alternative rock band MGMT is back, but not to necessarily give you what you would expect or want. The band explained in an NME interview that they wanted the album to be seen as a single body of work. Ben Goldwasser stated:

“We’d rather people hear the whole album as an album and see what tracks jump out rather than the ones that get played on the radio – if anything gets played on the radio … There definitely isn’t a ‘Time to Pretend’ or a ‘Kids’ on the album. We’ve been talking about ways to make sure people hear the album as an album in order and not just figure out what are the best three tracks, download those and not listen to the rest of it”

The band has decided to not release any singles from the album. After listening to Congratulations, it is understandable. The album is a 43 minute colorful sonic adventure, that is futuristic psychedelic bliss with fragments of the Beach Boys and early Pink Floyd scattered throughout it. It manages to allude to a fascinating era of American and British music, yet still have a contemporary flare that burns brightly.

“It’s Working”

Almost a direct flashback to 1960s psychedelia, seeming to run through the same bloodline as Piper At The Gates of Dawn-era Pink Floyd.

“Song For Dan Treacy”

Upbeat frantic psychedelic bubble-gum pop that is so happy that it is almost creepy, in that Pee-wee’s Playhouse kind of way.

“Someone’s Missing”

A slow Bee Gee-esque groove climbs into a funky climax. It’s dark, mysterious, and optimistic all at once. Too bad it couldn’t be longer.

“Flash Delirium”

The band offered this song as a free download on March 9, 2010. If Prince, The Beach Boys, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club band had a love-child, it would be this song. The band sounds like the Arcade Fire on acid, while building towards an explosive ejaculation at the end.

“I Found A Whistle”

A dreamy sing-along that subtly alludes to 50’s doo-wop pop.

“Siberian Breaks”

The 12 minute epic on the album is the band’s most sophisticated song yet. It starts off with a Tears for Fears-esque melody before diving into a series of nostalgic segments that paint a pastoral surreal landscape. It brings it back home at the end of the song, having the listener feel as if he or she went off on a eclectic musical journey only to return to where he or she came from.

“Brian Eno”

The track surprisingly finds the band diving into horror surfer-punk, with a jazzy intermission thrown in at the middle.

“Lady Dada’s Nightmare”

A moody sentimental instrumental that echoes The Division Bell-era Pink Floyd.

“Congratulations”

The title-track is a smooth groove that seems to sum up the matured sound that the band has bestowed upon this album. While Oracular Spectacular had more catchy hits, their sophomore effort finds them utilizing their talents and ear for sound in a much more impressive manner. The possibilities sound endless on this album, and while it alludes to the past, it creates its own niche of contemporary psychedelic rock.

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