MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
Review by Jack Foley
ORACULAR Spectacular is the first major label studio album from Brooklyn based outfit MGMT (aka The Management) and it announces their arrival in some considerable style.
Combining elements of epic space rock and Muse-style grandeur (not to mention some of the Scissor Sisters’ flamboyance and The Flaming Lips off-mainstream beauty), the LP whisks you off on a pretty wonderful journey from the start and seldom hits a dud note.
Opening track Time To Pretend is a classic case in point – a euphoric slice of space rock that combines elements of psychedelia with some lively flourishes of organ. It kickstarts the senses and has you thirsting for more.
Weekend Wars strips things back to a more acoustic form and emerges as a giddy ode to youthful battlefields that were driven by fertile imaginations. It then changes pace midway through to enliven proceedings with some fantastical whooshes of synthesizer that only succeed in raising the excitement. Can they maintain the momentum?
The answer is yes. Youth explodes to life with some chiming guitars, before coming over all echoey and recalling Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, Electric Feel winds up the synths and drops a funky backbeat all over them (taking its inspiration from the disco era, complete with falsetto vocals), and Kids once again flirts with coming-of-age memories and the (relative) innocence of youth and the excitement of discovery.
Thereafter, Pieces of What gets it right with more strained vocals and strung-out guitar licks, Of Moons, Birds & Monsters cranks up the party vibe and proves a real foot-stomper, and The Handshake provides a thrilling piece of comedown-style chillout that maintains the psychic edge.
Come final track Future Reflections, you’re going to be thirsting for more. And don’t bet against Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden delivering it. They’ve been developing the band since forming it at Wesleyan University during their freshman year in December 2002. Since then, they’ve been experimenting with noise rock and electronica before honing their sound on psychedelic pop and attracting the attention of some pretty major labels.
In live form, they even expand to a five-piece to fully do justice to their sound. And now that they’ve arrived, you can bet they’ll be wanting to hang around. It’s our pleasure to ensure that they do.
Download picks: Time To Pretend, Weekend Wars, Electric Feel, Of Moons & Monsters, The Handshake