MGMT | Congratulations

Columbia (2010)
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  April 7, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars


Listening to the new MGMT album requires similar preparations to those for a prolonged psychedelic experience: you may want to leave some time in your daybook for unexpected detours, and it’d be wise to erase previous experiences from your mind for fear that heightened expectations may not be met and mass bummerage will ensue. Once you’ve got your supply of water, and the “Do Not Disturb” sign is hung on your doorknob, and the mood lighting is just right, you can listen properly and ask: what the fuck is up?

What did I say about erasing expectations? Anyone putting the needle anywhere on this disc had better forget about waiting around for “Electric Feel 2: Electric Boogaloo.” Instead of repeating their recipe of wan, vaguely Prince-y dance-tasm moods, wunderkinder Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser create a lighthearted collage of jaunty surf jangles, snappy and irreverent paeans to Brians Eno and Wilson, and trailing plangent piano chords. There are harpsichords and flutes and recorders and reverse Mellotrons that disappear down unseen corridors, and notes and sounds that just hang in the air — if this album had a sustain pedal, there’d be a cinder block on it. Closer “Congratulations” sounds as if someone in the dorm next door were blasting “The Weight” so loud, you could hear the bass through the wall. It all ends with the polite spittle of golf claps; the ephemeral evaporation of the whole experience compels me to repeat it, again and again. Do I even need to tell you? It just gets stranger each time.

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