March 31, 2010

Test Spin: MGMT

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After two long years of waiting, Brooklyn based electro-psych rock duo MGMT are releasing their sophomore record, Congratulations. This new record takes the listener into a different realm than their first album, Oracular Spectacular, one that voices the consequences and efforts of trying to stay cool while becoming successful at the same time. While there are no standout singles on Congratulations like there are on Oracular, the album plays through more sinuously.

Band leaders Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser spent the majority of the time recording Congratulations with Peter Kember of Spacemen 3 fame in Malibu, which inspired the beachy and ’50s wave-like jingles within tracks like “It’s Working,” “Flash Delirium” and their 12-minute prog-rock epic, “Siberian Breaks.” The wonder that is “Siberian Breaks” weaves in and out of genres and tells a story about surfing in the arctic circle off the coast of Russia. There is also some darker material on Congratulations with the heavy organ based tracks “Brian Eno” and “Song for Dan Treacy.”  “Brian Eno” has a rapid drum and bass foundation that’s overlapped with evil organs, telling a story of VanWyngarden and Goldwasser exploring a dark forest before coming across musical genius Brian Eno and his gothic castle filled to the roof with pipe organs.

Besides the array of surfer-like sounds and dark synth organs, there are a few gems that slowly resonate. “Someone’s Missing” is rather slow at the beginning but comes to a climax with an extreme uplifting mix of sparkled synths and funky chords. The title track “Congratulations” is one of the best songs of the album. Representing the duo’s rise to stardom and its various outcomes, this relaxing song is anchored by a mellow rhythm featuring a beautiful crystallized piano going in and out. While Congratulations is one of those risky sophomore albums that is either a hit or miss, it’s safe to say that MGMT could possibly represent a revolution for today’s music.


Original Author: Justin Balcom