MGMT
Time to Pretend


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
September 17th, 2008 | 27 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fans jumping on the MGMT bandwagon following ‘Oracular Spectacular’ are sure to be impressed, while this would actually be the best starting point for listeners wanting to check out what all the fuss is about.

It seems to be a common phenomenon that casual music fans believe that bands literally come out of nowhere to become successful. In truth, the performers have usually been toiling away for many years going un-noticed until one song breaks them huge. While MGMT are not exactly veterans of the music industry, they have (under the name of ‘The Management’) had 2 EP’s and an album released prior to their breakthrough LP ‘Oracular Spectacular’.

The strange thing about the suddenness of MGMT’s fame is that their breakthrough 2007 hit ‘Time To Pretend’ was in fact included here on this EP which was released in early 2005! And the versions are pretty much identical, with only slightly glossier production livening up the latter version a little more. Either rendition is top-notch, with a super hooky keyboard component positioning itself in your mind against the computerized space-rock background. Meanwhile, vocalists Ben Goldwasser & Andrew VanWyngarden add some lyrical weight by melodically piecing together an amusing send-up of the various misadventures of those in the spotlight.

It is clear that this duo has excellent pop-sensibilities and know how to draw a listener in. But they also know how to provide sufficient variety by having different sounds pulling off a track’s all-important hook. ‘Boogie Down’ replaces the keyboard with something that sounds similar to an accordion, while the key component to the following ‘Destrokk’ is akin to a xylophone. Both of these cuts also build up involvingly as the songs progress, a quality possessed by pretty much every track on this EP.

Track 4 ‘Love Always Remains’ may be the most interesting and polarizing piece included here, partially due to its length of 5:38. A carry-over from their previously released EP, this wanders aimlessly for the first couple of minutes before springing to life with a simple and repetitive chorus whose layered vocals will win some over as it plays in front of a strong beat, hand-claps and then background silence. It does tend to drag on a little too long though.

The more subdued and straight-forward sounding ‘Indie Rokkers’ is then the perfect lead-in to the EP’s closer ‘Kids’. A song which was used on both prior releases (one as a remixed version), this predominantly follows the template of the opening title track except for the fact that the keyboard hook and chorus are even more contagious. Furthermore, the cut has a more positive up-beat feel that turns it into a real-toe-tapper and this EP’s highlight.

Critics will correctly suggest that MGMT compromise their brand of psychedelic space-rock for the sake of accessibility. But there is nothing necessarily wrong with that since the sound has only been attempted fleetingly in the past to limited success. This duo’s greater pop sensibilities are their secret weapon in distinguishing themselves from the not-so-large pack, while this EP contains sufficient variety and remains strong to the very end. So much so, that fans jumping on the bandwagon following ‘Oracular Spectacular’ are sure to be impressed, while this would actually be the best starting point for listeners wanting to check out what all the fuss is about.

Recommended Tracks: Kids, Time To Pretend & Destrokk.



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user ratings (105)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
sadmafioso
September 17th 2008


318 Comments


kids is the greatest song ever, no joke

cbmartinez
September 17th 2008


2525 Comments


that song and this band are terrible

jrowa001
September 17th 2008


8750 Comments


not really, i quite enjoy Oracular Spectacular

sadmafioso
September 17th 2008


318 Comments


how is kids terrible

Skyler
September 17th 2008


1084 Comments


everything about this band is meh

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2008


16089 Comments


My cousin worked with these guys for some of their artwork (not sure if they used it) and I have not heard them just wanted to throw that out there

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2008


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

How 'Kids' has yet to be officially released as a single is mind-boggling. Just looking it up, it will be next month though so it could really catapult MGMT to super-stardom.
ILUVATAR, did you have a look at the artwork for this EP...??? If your cousin is about 7 years of age, he was probably involved by the look of it!

badtaste
September 17th 2008


824 Comments


lol^^

Good work as per usual.


AtavanHalen
September 17th 2008


17927 Comments


Dude that cover fucking kicks arse!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2008


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the positive feedback BADTASTE. It's appreciated.
And Dave, I never said that the cover didn't kick arse... It's just that it could have been done by a 7 year old. Rather psychedelic, which is pretty fitting for such a psychedelic band.

Kiran
Emeritus
February 8th 2009


6002 Comments


Love Always Remains is sooo good

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2009


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, don't take it the wrong way that I didn't like 'Love Always Remains' because I didn't include it in my recommended tracks... I just slightly preferred 'Destrokk'.
I actually thought that 'Love Always Remains' would have been the perfect song to actually play around with a little & re-record it for 'Oracular Spectacular', but I suppose you can't blame MGMT for not doing that since 'Kids' & 'Time To Pretend' were included on the LP.

Kiran
Emeritus
February 8th 2009


6002 Comments


I totally agree. Some minor touching up with the synth like they did with Kids and Time to Pretend and it would have been perfect on Oracular Spectacular.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2009


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, just some better production values really. Although, with 'Love Always Remains', I also would have made a few little cuts to make it more (for want of a better word) efficient. Basically just to get it under 5 minutes in length.

natey
March 19th 2009


4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think this is more complete then Oracular.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2009


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can see where you are coming from Nate, but I'm unsure I'd ever find an EP "complete" myself.

4.5 is a very high rating too. But I'm glad you enjoyed it.

upagainstthewall
March 20th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Kids = amazing

upagainstthewall
March 20th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh and i also pos'd

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2009


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Belated thanks James.

upagainstthewall
April 30th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

No worries Davey. You are always worth the pos



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