Take a moment to examine the cover art to the right. Think about how you would describe it. Bizarre? Spacey? Demented Looney Tunes? There’s no one way to describe it, but that picture is the perfect representation of the music behind it.
Congratulations, the second offering from MGMT, has already been the most talked about album on the web this year. First came the announcements from the band that there would be no singles and that they were going in a different direction than the melodious electro-pop that brought early admiration. Then came the album leak, the backlash, and the backlash to the backlash. Few albums in history have split fans more.
MGMT have given us exactly what they said. There is nothing on this album that compares to “Kids” or “Electric Feel.” Instead, they’ve presented us with an album that holds together really well from beginning to end with no one track dominating. It’s hard to stop listening to this album if it hasn’t reached the final track.
Sound-wise, the album ranges from folky (“Congratulations”) to demented carnival surf rock (“Brian Eno,” “Song for Dan Treacy”) to something that can only be described by looking at the album art again (“Siberian Breaks”). There’s a bit of system shock that goes with the first listen, but it settles nicely into the ears on subsequent plays.
It’s hard not to miss the sense of melody that made MGMT popular, and this album is sometimes crazy for crazy sake, but Congratulations is a more rewarding listening experience.
Congratulations will be released next Tuesday, April 13.