Posted by: outroversion | December 10, 2010

Album of the year- Runner Up: MGMT- Congratulations

If I was NME I would vote this my album of the year hands down. However, I have many more things to take into account other than it just being a great album. It’s drawbacks are it’s only 9 tracks and without the one 10+ minute track it’s incredibly short, however the main reason I hold this album in high regard is that it has come into rotation at some very key moments of my year. Moments that, though incredibly special, don’t bear musing over on a music blog…

File:MGMT Congratulations.jpg

MGMT– Congratulations (2010)

Keen-eyed MGMT lites have delighted in criticising the New Yorkers’ latest offering for not having an electric feel or kids on it.

They’re absolutely correct to make this observation as this album indeed doesn’t have those tracks on it. It is this reviewer’s, pehaps pessimistic opinion that this is due to those songs being on an album they released almost a quarter of a decade ago and it generally being seen as a bit of a cop out to release the same album twice. Unless you happen to be Lady Gaga, perhaps but then not many people are. Thankfully.

There are, not surprisingly, different tracks on this CD. Though maybe surprisingly these are better tracks than the aforementioned indie dance floor fillers. Tracks that don’t demand you turn them on with electric eels but enjoy them in isolation, independant of other works and revel in them as you give them the time this eclectic sophomore effort deserves. Only then are you to to be rewarded with a classic album you perhaps won’t have to share with every casual indie fan to anyone who is dialled in to commericial radio.

The opener “it’s working”, I don’t see as being particularly different to anything from the first record. It progresses with stoccato and bass vocals underscoring at various points with baroque style keys and changes of pace. When I say it’s not that different, do remember the first album was fairly well recieved.

“A song for Dan Treacy” is brilliant and is indeed far removed from their niche going more for the “surf-rock with gothic undertones” feel. A pastiche to the shop-lifting lead singer of the television personalities, this track marks MGMT’s intention to be recognised as a real band. Indeed when I had tickets to see them in the Summer of ’08 I didn’t go as they were a bit of a scenester joke, I likened their appeal to CSS at the time and am glad they’re moving away from that particular market.

There are a few tracks on here you can dismiss without missing out on a whole lot;  someone’s missing, the instrumental Lady Dada’s nightmare and peeerhaps I found a whistle (though it really really is a grower). In that regard it’s exactly like Oracular Spectacular.

Congratulations and Flash Delerium were the first glimpses into the future of MGMT, they’re both fine, the latter feels like a bit of a compromise to the casual fan, as I feel this is the most accessible track on the album.

Siberian Breaks like Metanoia is 12 minutes long, but unlike the 2008 b-side, this isn’t terrible. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Usually I’d listen to a track that long once, declare it self-indulgent box ticking and delete it. This however, is a vast, sprawling demonstration of what this band are capable of. Musically and lyrically this track shows a maturity and relaxed dynamism you’d be optomistic to expect on their 5th LP let alone their second.

“If you’re conscious you must be depressed, or at least cynical”

Contrasting that is “Brian Eno” namechecking the pioneer of ambience, it is pure, blissful pop brilliance. Little more can be said about it; lyrically it isn’t particularly profound and musically it sounds a little like the Munsters’ theme. It’s great though, fun and eel free.

So all in all, a brilliant album that you should take out of 2010 and into the future. It’s the kind of album that you can really play in whatever mood you’re in but maybe not at an indie disco and that’s definately for the best.

Standout Tracks: It’s Working, Song for Dan Treacy, Brian Eno and Flash Delirium

MP3:

Flash Delirium

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