February 12, 2008
photo by James Parker Photography, from the band’s myspace.
On their debut full-length, “Oracular Spectacular,” MGMT cast their net wide and haul back a multitude of influences which inform their eclectic sound. Prog, disco, synth-pop, and the more eclectic indierockers like – Fiery Furnaces and Of Montreal (whom they’ve toured with) – all seem to get thrown in the mix. Deep groves are constructed out of layers of bass lines, multiple synths, and a vocal style that is mined from ’70s pop records (at times Jagger, at times Bowie, at times Mercury, at times something familiar which I can’t quite place my finger on. )
Their album is definitely rooted in music of the past and, in addition, is informed and inspired by time gone by. It is not quite a rallying cry to return to the ideals of the 60s-70s but it isn’t quite just a nostaligic look back either. Perhaps MGMT are expressing a hopeful wish to reinstate those values which our cynicism has deemed untenable in the 21st century. An underlying theme of return to innocence (see the standout “Kids”, “The Youth”) emerges as they express a desire for the uncomplicated time where there is “Time to Pretend” of making it big, making money, marrying models. On my first listen, I wasn’t sure how serious MGMT should be taken – it seemed just a shade to contrived. I think, however, that the lead off track is informed by what follows: in isolation “Time to Pretend” can be read as a satirical or tongue-in-cheek comment on the dream of becoming a rockstar. In the context of the album, however, I think the song reflects that desire held at an earlier age which, when looking back with wisdom, seems naive. The MGMT duo Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser have created a unique album taking from a broad spectrum of sounds and styles (many of which have remained relatively untapped even with the “everything old is new again” mentality which abounds).
Here are a couple of tracks:
* Time to Pretend
They are on tour right now. Yes, I know they just played Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal with Yeasayer (any one see these shows? Good?) but it seems that, as I so often am, I was a day late and a dollar short on this one. There are still a few US dates – including a show TONIGHT at Great Scott in Allston Massachusetts – and a whack of UK & European shows so check them out if they happen to be in your neighbourhood (hit up their myspace for full dates…if you can decipher them through the background)
Feb 12 Allston, MA, with Yeasayer, DJ Carbo
Feb 14 Brooklyn, with Yeasayer
Feb 15 Philadelphia, with Yeasayer
Would you like to win yourself a copy of their album? Of course you would. I have a prize pack consisting of MGMT’s “Oracular Spectacular”, a poster, and stickers courtesy of SonyBMG Music Canada. Just send me an email with “MGMT contest” in the subject line and your mailing address in the body to email@example.com and I will chose the winners at random. The contest closes February 22nd at noon (EST) and I will announce the winner shortly thereafter. Best of luck.
If you don’t win you can pick yourself up a copy of the record through the SonyStore.