by BroManCaptainGuySirDylan USER (19 Reviews)
September 18th, 2013 | 13 replies | 5,107 views

Release Date: 09/17/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We refuse to be pinned down.

7 of 7 thought this review was well written

Socially and commercially accepted as the bastard child of Middletown duo, Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, 2010s Congratulations was met with a very mixed response upon release. Taking a creative departure from their synthpop roots found on their debut album Oracular Spectacular, Congratulations was much more rock oriented, leaving most of their catchy electronic hooks and beats behind and focusing more on a modern take of the golden era of psych rock.

“Wait…these are the same guys that do Kids, right?”

It was a shock to all that the sound that had defined a band so adamantly was mysteriously absent on their next release. The closest thing we got to relive it was the scattered electronic sampling found in the albums 12-minute centerpiece, ‘Siberian Breaks’, and even then, it was rationed. But in the end, the band performing a 180 on themselves was a smart decision, because Congratulations was good. Really good. And without that departure, it wouldn’t have been the stepping stone which would eventually lead us to their third full-length, MGMT.

The sound of MGMT’s third album could most effectively be described as a culmination of their two previous endeavors. It’s still very much led by a psychedelic rock sound, more often than not shifting gear to take a more ambient electronic approach in certain areas, with the almost melancholy opening to ‘A Good Sadness’ being a particular standout. The combination of the two directions creates a really potent daydream-like atmosphere found within the album as a whole. Even the most radio-friendly of the bunch and lead single ‘Your Life Is A Lie’ echoes a sense of reverie within the listener, all the while maintaining catchy lyrics in a simple, almost danceable beat.

“Here is the deal / Open your eyes / Your life is a lie / Don’t say a word / I’ll tell you why.”

It’s this kind of juxtaposition that MGMT pull off so well and maintain throughout their record. Each track manages to flow into the next with relative ease all without sacrificing atmosphere or the summery psych-rock feel across the albums ten tracks. Despite this, MGMT is an album that has a wide variety of clear influences, yet utilizes all of them in a way that make it nearly impossible to class. ‘Cool Song No. 2’ opens with an almost tribal-like drum sound that segues into the fuzzy, garage rock sounding jam of ‘Mystery Disease’. It’s because of the admirable creative chemistry of VanWyngarden and Goldwasser that MGMT manage to get away with this amalgamation of genres, without coming off as overstuffed or undecidedly grasping at straws. Both talented multi-instrumentalists, they aren’t restricted to just doing “their part” and absolve themselves of being shoehorned.

Perhaps it was the fact that Oracular Spectacular spawned so many standout hits, that anything not dubbed as a single was automatically seen as inferior in comparison, and yet it’s MGMT’s consistency that really sets it apart from its predecessor’s. Each track can stand on isolated listens, but the album really fluctuates as a whole, the listener picking up things gone unnoticed on previous album cycles, consolidating the entire record. VanWyngarden and Goldwasser have crafted an album that’s constantly changing, and it’s the ridiculous amount of variety held within its 45-minute runtime that make MGMT a truly rewarding listen. Self-titled records have always been used as a calling card for a band finding their feet, and suffice to say that is the case here, as with their third full-length, MGMT really hit the nail on the head, tallying their combined strengths to create their strongest and most consistent record to date.

Recent reviews by this author
Code Orange Kids Love Is Love // Return To DustThe Amity Affliction Chasing Ghosts
The Faceless AutotheismWill Haven Voir Dire
Psycroptic The Inherited RepressionWitch Blood Wounderom
user ratings (142)
other reviews of this album
Justin Swope (3)
MGMT's self-titled third album finds the psychedelic outfit literally reaching for the stars and ass...

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 17th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Can't wait to jam this shit in Summer.

September 17th 2013


Cool, this makes me actually want to give this a listen

September 18th 2013


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

very nice review. Def an AOTY contender. albums strong as fuck.
The second half starting from astro-mancy is really amazing.

Digging: SpaceGhostPurrp - B.M.W. 2: Intoxxxicated

September 20th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks guys. Yeah, album's a killer.

September 22nd 2013


Just bought it, gonna enjoy tonight aw yisssss

September 22nd 2013


Def an AOTY contender

This must be a joke..

Digging: Anacrusis - Screams and Whispers

September 22nd 2013


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

i dont joke...
unless its trolling people who dont know how to quote properly.

October 5th 2013


Album Rating: 2.5

I'm trying so hard to like this, but I just can't. There's so much nonsense in the album that it just messes with me too much, it's chaotic for the sake of being chaotic IMO.

October 5th 2013


i dig

Digging: Kettle Rebellion - Kettle Rebellion

October 6th 2013


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

its great. fuck the haters

October 25th 2013


I dig Oracular Spectacular so hard.

Digging: Eels - The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett

October 30th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

How did this get rated down to a 3.3? This album rules.

Digging: Chevelle - La Gargola

Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2014


Album Rating: 2.2

After their notoriously divisive 2010 record ‘Congratulations’, MGMT continue to eschew the catchy singles of their earlier recordings on their eclectic self-titled effort. Co-produced with Dave Fridmann, the spacey, psychedelic pop-rock on show here is busy & densely layered, but ultimately lacks melody. There are brief moments when the rhythms & drums pull the listener in, but such involvement only lasts so long, especially as the more experimental 2nd half of the album kicks in... This meandering release definitely feels much longer than its 44 minute duration. Recommended Tracks: Mystery Disease & Alien Days.

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2013
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy