Thursday, February 11, 2010

MGMT 201

Have you heard? Synth-pop oddballs MGMT are gearing up for the release of album #2, apparently called Congratulations.

As I guy who just wrote a sweeping four-part feature on Uncle Tupelo, you'd think I'd have little patience for a some preening face painted white dudes who get their jollies on synthesizers and vocal modulation. But man, I loved Oracular Spectacular. It conjures the vivid surreality of driving through "Rainbow Road" from Mario Kart 64:

The album is like ear candy, sweet to the taste and chock full of processed ingredients. But man was it addictive. The first five tracks are such a brilliant run of songs, from the dumb but goodhearted "Time to Pretend" on through the anthemic "Kids". And it's the silly minutia that I like about it so much. Like the way he says "weekend waah-ooooowuz!" It's over the top, but what about the album isn't?

MGMT seems to be a band destined for the mainstream, but their approach to songwriting is very smart and their execution of the style they've crafted is perfect. I might never place them in the company of my personal musical titans--the Waitses, the Wilcos, the Radioheads--but it's nice to sneak off beneath the bleachers and listen to something so out of sync with my usual tastes. I suppose it keeps me honest, satiates that craving; let's face it, a little MGMT goes a long way. But man, does it go.

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