Attention, MGMT fans who are hoping for more of the same music as “Electric Feel” and “Kids”: This album may not be for you.
The sophomore effort from MGMT is definitely not “Oracular Spectacular”—well, at least not the first half of it. “Congratulations” seems to stem from the second half of the band’s debut, and in doing so, successfully makes a rather indiscreet, rude hand gesture at the majority of fans who simply skipped over it in an impatient attempt to get back to danceable music.
The attempt to stay away from mainstream music is apparent in this album, from the quirky beginning riff, “It’s Working,” to “Brian Eno,” where the band sings, “I followed the sounds to a cathedral, imagine my surprise to find that they were produced by Brian Eno.”
This is not a stroke of musical genius, nor is it danceable. It probably won’t be heard on the radio, and will likely be rejected by former fans who were just hoping for some more singles. It seems like the only message it has is, “We do what we want.” It’s sporadic, at best, leaping from branch to branch faster than Tarzan.
But, somehow, it works. The super-trippy, electro-feel combines with bright, poppish lyrics to make for an album that is overcast at some points with music that will make you wonder how you can feel so dreary listening to words that can be so light-hearted.
The 12-minute “Siberian Breaks” is the song that will represent this album—for anyone with enough patience and sanity to listen to the entire Pink Floyd-esque track. It jumps from beautiful to dreary in a matter of seconds at some points, and never gives the ear a chance to calm down before turning onto itself again.
For the brave of heart who makes it through the entire album, “Congratulations” gives you a song to calm down to after the acidic rollercoaster. The acoustic guitar, light keyboard and vocals make for a stunningly serene end to the jagged ride.
This is an album that will undoubtedly not experience the same success as “Spectacular,” with the missing singles and cutesy feel, but the body of work is innovative and capturing.
And, the title is a self pat on the back for such a creative approach to the after-fame album.
Congratulations, MGMT. This album is anything but a failure.