MGMT – [Album]

Saturday, 10 April 2010

In the six years since MGMT crashed through onto the modern rock landscape, it's incredible how long and strong the band's staying power has been. In an industrial climate where Andy Warhol's foretold fifteen minutes of fame has been pared down to about three and a half, MGMT has done the unthinkable: they've stayed diverse enough and interesting enough that they've captured and held the attention of fans, and even succored them into waiting excitedly for the next release. Seldom distracted, fans simply sit in wait for more.

In listening to Congratulations, it's apparent that MGMT's positive reception and fans' thirst for new material hasn't been lost on the band either. Instantly noticeable about the record is just how big and celebratory it sounds; from the opening rush of “It's Working,” MGMT seems determined to live up to their fans' anticipation as, with a rock-steady and simple 4/4 guaranteed to get their fans' pulses racing, the band slaps everything their audiences loved about Oracular Spectacular into four minutes and five seconds. The sort of post-Britpop vocals that characterized songs like “Kids,” “Weekend Wars” and “Time To Pretend” ring out of “It's Working" clear and true (sample line: “My heart is racing/turn the noise on”) and is the perfect introduction for this album; it can't not get the attention of everyone within earshot.

From there, the campy and twee cliches that have been the band's bread and butter for two albums already keep coming easily, fast and furiously as songs like “Someone's Missing,” “Flash Delirium,” “Siberian Breaks” and the cheekily-entitled “Brian Eno” all roll along easily on the strength of cute faux-Brit vocals and lustrous, cybernetic rhythms and glitches that will tickle listeners' fancy instead of beating them over the head or overplaying them. It's a record that's easy for the uninitiated to like because its wholly non-threatening and builds on the framework of Oracular Spectacular to appeal to existing fans, but also condenses the band's strengths to force out any of the perceived gaffes and weaknesses listeners may have found in the band's releases before.

Because Congratulations is so easy to like, as the title track closes the record out as easily as it opened, the obvious question to ask is if MGMT might be simply pandering to fans, playing to their own strengths and treading water. It's a valid question that may indeed need asking, but Congratulations is a strong and pleasing record for what it is. What's the next step? More of the same? The answer to that will only make itself apparent on future releases but, until then, fans can relish in this album for as long as it takes to find out. In Congratulations, MGMT has given fans precisely what they hoped for: a more potent dose of the same formula they started with.



comes out on March 13, 2010 through Columbia Records/Sony Music. Buy it here on Amazon .

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