MGMT
Oracular Spectacular


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
September 20th, 2008 | 366 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The “IT” band of the moment creates an album that is as accessibly poppy as much as it is adventurously different. Too inconsistent and not enough standout tracks to come into ‘Album of the Year’ contention though.

They are seemingly the “IT” band of the moment and when one looks back at the year in music, MGMT just may be the biggest story of 2008. All the hype surrounds this album titled ‘Oracular Spectacular’, an LP of 10 tracks that was actually released digitally in November of 2007, before gaining a physical retail release in January 2008.

So is all the hype worth it…??? It depends! If you had not heard any of the duo’s prior releases, then it most probably will be. But if you have previously had the opportunity to listen to their 2005 six-track EP ‘Time To Pretend’, then ‘Oracular Spectacular’ may in fact underwhelm a little. The reason for this is that the 2 highlight tracks from the EP (‘Time To Pretend’ & ‘Kids’) return here. They have been polished up a little, but remain almost identical to their original versions. More tellingly, they are also the highlight tracks here!

Only one other cut on ‘Oracular Spectacular’ approaches the superb quality of the aforementioned 2 songs and that is track 4 ‘Electric Feel. A funky and poppy piece, this immediately contagious cut makes Bee Gee-like vocals cool again, which is no easy feat. The lyrics are rather nonsensical, but who could resist a pick-up line like “Ooh baby, shock me like an electric eel”, which beats out their previous effort of “I know you want to check out my components” from the EP’s ‘Boogie Down’.

Elsewhere, nothing is as memorable as those 3 standout cuts, but there are indeed some notable tracks. The first of these is ‘Weekend Wars’, which begins with strikingly raw vocals before an electronica-laced bouncing beat and falsetto vocals add a jovial nature to proceedings. Meanwhile, the album’s barometer will most likely be track 8 ‘Of Moons, Birds & Monsters’. Musically complex and the most likely cut to grow on a listener, this arguably could be seen as a summation of the entire album’s sound all rolled into one.

In truth, ‘Oracular Spectacular’ does not quite hold up right to the very end and is predominantly front-loaded. However, MGMT do partially succeed in providing sufficient variation to their poppy brand of psychedelic space-rock. They accomplish this by taking a variety of their inspirations from pretty much every decade since the 1960s and combining them into a hook-filled melting pot. Take for example ‘4th Dimensional Transition’, which includes galloping and propulsive drums that make it sound tribal, before middle-eastern flourishes effectively join proceedings later.

This is not the album of the year as some pundits will have you believe. It is too inconsistent for that and there are simply not enough standout tracks when you consider that the album highlights have been recorded previously. However, the album is predominantly successful in achieving MGMT’s objectives for ‘Oracular Spectacular’. The duo have captured the imagination of the mainstream audience that had yet to hear their work by creating an album that is as accessibly poppy as much as it is adventurously different.

Recommended Tracks: Kids, Time To Pretend, Electric Feel & Weekend Wars.



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user ratings (1364)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Archibald C. Burke (3)
A decent first outing in this incarnation, the album has a lot of potential summer singles...

JacoIII (4)
An engaging debut that hits more often than it misses....


Comments:Add a Comment 
bastard
September 20th 2008


3435 Comments


woah, just a few seconds and three reviews knock my Too Short review down low.

Good job with the review, much more concise and short than your last few.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2008


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Apologies Max. I promise I did not realize that there had been a few reviews posted over the last half-hour or so. I usually post around 1am U.S time, but the weekend throws me out a little.

And thanks for noticing the attempt at shortening my reviews. It's not always easy, but I'm getting there. Although, I still think that the height of the right-hand side graph/recommendations bar plays a part in the perception of the length of some of the reviews. Most of my reviews are 7 paragraphs long & my last 2 have been 6. But many of my previous reviews have had a shorter bar on the right-hand side, making the 7 paragraphs look a lot longer than they actually are. Just look at my 2 MGMT reviews as an example of this. They are similar in lengths, but the previous one looks a lot longer than this!This Message Edited On 09.20.08

gasmaskman
September 20th 2008


1006 Comments


Your 4 recommended are the only tracks I listen to on this album anymore... the rest are boring.

bastard
September 20th 2008


3435 Comments


Apologies Max. I promise I did not realize that there had been a few reviews posted over the last half-hour or so. I usually post around 1am U.S time, but the weekend throws me out a little.


I will only forgive you if you dare to look at my Too Short review.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2008


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the agreement on the recommended tracks GASMASKMAN. Although, I think most listeners would feel the same as at the very least the 3 singles do stand out. The only thing I would recommend is to be patient with 'Of Moons, Birds & Monsters' as it has grown on me over the weeks.
Challenge accepted BASTARD & it was indeed a pleasant surprise.


Captain North
September 21st 2008


6787 Comments


This band is purely annoying.

jrowa001
September 21st 2008


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not really, theyre a fun band

sadmafioso
September 21st 2008


318 Comments


yeah i don't see why people hate mgmt. they're great to just chill out to.

jrowa001
September 21st 2008


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

theyre too popular now with the media so they must suck

plane
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2008


6094 Comments


pretty boring

sadmafioso
September 21st 2008


318 Comments


man what hte fuk

P13
September 21st 2008


1327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i like the Justice remix

Granfalloon
September 21st 2008


176 Comments


not a very good album (keeping in theme w/ rest of comments) but Kids is a pretty sick song

plane
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2008


6094 Comments


was "kids" on the EP longer than the album version?

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2008


15737 Comments


I too have love for this "Kids" track.

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

sadmafioso
September 21st 2008


318 Comments


was "kids" on the EP longer than the album version?


yeah by 25 seconds. the album version is better though.

johnnyblaze
September 21st 2008


2605 Comments


Great review. One of those albums with simple, yet interesting songs. Live they were kind of underwhelming, with the exception of Electric Feel.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2008


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yep, "fun" & "great to chill out to" are pretty good comments to make about this album. And like JROWA001, I wonder how much hate comes this band's way just because they have cracked the mainstream & become successful now.
As SADMAFIOSO said, the EP version of 'Kids' is slightly longer than the album version. The extra time on the EP version isn't really anything different though... There is just an instrumental passage that goes on longer from memory. I do agree that the album version is better as it is more streamlined, upbeat & polished. But the actual composition of both versions are almost identical. Ditto for 'Time To Pretend', although there is even less change there as the running times are almost identical.
Thanks for the positive feedback on the review JOHNNYBLAZE. I have heard some stories about their live show which is not promising. Hopefully they improve in that department soon.

sadmafioso
September 22nd 2008


318 Comments


i heard they were great at lollapalooza and bonnaroo. and yeah the album version of 'kids' is more fleshed out and meaty which makes it awesomeemememe

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2008


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They would probably be better in a festival setting... When 95% of the audience is stoned! ;-)



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