A Psychedelic Odyssey: MGMT Streams New Album "Congratulations"
MGMT thrives on the weird.
From wearing tie-dyed clothing to having giant kittens and animatronic banjo-playing animals in their music videos, MGMT's oddness has become a unique fixture in the indie music community.
Their first release, "Oracular Spectacular," became the trippy album to get in 2008 with such hits like "Time to Pretend," "Electric Feel," and the song all the kids were dancing to: "Kids."
Their sophomore effort "Congratulations" is definitely a psychedelic odyssey with weird sounds, strange instruments, and interesting song titles. The great melodies are there, but this album was sadly not meant for this decade.
MGMT takes a little bit out of every acid/psychedelic rock and funk genre and incorporates it into "Congratulations."
"Someone's Missing" sounds like old 1970s funk rock like Sly and the Family Stone and Stevie Wonder. The opener, "It's Working," is an upbeat groovy tune on amphetamines, like a theme song for a Nickelodeon cartoon. "Song for Dan Treacy" sounds like a spawn of the B52's "Rock Lobster." "Flash Delirium" is a doo-wop and psychedelic tribute to the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" using organs, mellotrons and theremins to take you on a Technicolor-enhanced dream.
"Siberian Breaks," the longest song on the album, is a multitude of songs in one, a journey through the minds of these hippie dudes. "Brian Eno" is a poppy jab at the celebrity, and the instrumental "Lady Dada's Nightmare" is a hauntingly psychedelic song with bloodcurdling screams in the background, which confirms the weirdness and eccentricity of the band. By the end of the album's last song, the soft melodic "Congratulations," you hear clapping in the background as the song and the overall trippy voyage ends.
In order to enjoy this album, you must hear it from beginning to end, without stopping. Only then will you truly experience what MGMT tries to achieve.
In the past, albums were called works of art as people listened to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" or The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" from beginning to end, taking the time to appreciate the lyrics and the flow of the music. In this age of iPods and the 99-cent download, "Congratulations" seems a little out of place.
The duo, Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, have told the press that their desire for this album was not to release singles, but to be a complete body of songs and have the listener decide which songs stand out for them.
All the songs could be singles but they are too "far out" to be considered for radio play; perhaps "Flash Delirium is a possibility," but even that song is "too peculiar" for the radio. With MGMT's credibility, perhaps it may squeak by unnoticed with the generic, lifeless rock music playing on the radio.
If this album had been released in the 1960s or perhaps even the early 1990s, it would have been truly appreciated, but it is still a great effort by the duo to try and bring the art of album listening back to the forefront.
So, if you are into mind-bending, spacey, psyched out sounds, MGMT ‘s "Congratulations" album is for you. Happily, due to an early album leak, MGMT are officially streaming the album on their Web site just for you. Give it a listen.