Review: MGMT, ‘Congratulations’

Review: MGMT, ‘Congratulations’: Aidin Vaziri | When we checked in with Andrew VanWyngarden of the Brooklyn electro-pop duo MGMT before last year’s Treasure Island Music Festival he admitted that the wildfire success of the group’s first album, “Oracular Spectacular,” had scored them a lot of leeway with the record company when it came to making its follow-up. “So when we bring them some seven-minute instrumental song that has a synthesizer solo that sounds like a baby crying for four-minutes they think it’s cool,” he said of the work in progress. In the same breath, he admitted that MGMT had no idea how to follow up the infectious set that yielded effervescent dance hits like “Kids” and “Time to Pretend,” adding, “There’s going to be a lot of weird s- on it.” Sure enough, the best tracks here – folkie oddities such as “Siberian Breaks” and “I Found A Whistle” – mainline the loopy psychedelic vibes of Syd Barrett, Suicide and producer Sonic Boom’s former band, Spacemen 3, while the treacly instrumental “Lady Dada’s Nightmare” will most likely drive away as many fickle fans as the last one pulled in. “Congratulations” doesn’t so much represent a band taking bold artistic liberties so much as feeling thoroughly confused. The album’s cheery title, it turns out, is not so much a celebration of MGMT’s rapid rise but the curse that comes with it. “The ground may be moving fast,” VanWyngarden sings on the closing track. “But I tied my boots to a broken mast.”

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