Oracular Spectacular review by MGMT

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  • Released: Jan 22, 2008
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (53 votes)
MGMT: Oracular Spectacular
1

Sound — 8
First off, Im surprised no one else here has posted a review for one of the most talked about indie/alternative rock bands of the last year.

Having said that, MGMT's sound draws heavily from Indie synth-pop and alternative rock. I know the shear sound of that probrably repels most UGers but the band doesnt write commercial pop songs. Each one is cleverly orchestrated and heavily layered with beautiful synth textures and guitar tones. Every instrument plays a fundamental roll in the song to convey some sort of feeling or emotion. Most songs have a very "dance" feel or a mellow feel, there isnt really too much inbetween, but that shouldnt convey an sort of negativity. While personally the uptempo songs (Kids and Electric Feel) are my personal favorites, the mellower songs tend to be the more interesting ones in the realms of orchestration. layers, and instrumentation choice. Either way, this entire album is an experience that takes you on a rebelious journey through music you havent heard anyother band create.

01.Time To Pretend: the band establishes their synth driven sound on their first single which mocks the stereotypical rock and roller lifestyle. (4/5)
02.Weekend Wars: opening with a pretty cool acoustic riff, layers and instrument orchestration develops over this mellower song. (4/5)
03.The Youth: probably one of the slowest and most laid back songs on the album. There isnt anything too striking about this song, but its nice to listen to if your just looking to chill out. (3/5)
04.Electric Feel: driven by a sick funk/dance bass line, this is definately one of my favorite songs. It goes into a really cool earthy/spiritual kinda solo section before the ending. (5/5)
05.Kids: probably one of the catchiest riffs I have ever heard on this very danceable song. The solo section in the middle is one of the more technical on the whole album. Everytime i listen to this song i hear more and more layers and sounds in the background of the main music. (5/5)
06.4th Dimensional Transition: very drum driven and experimental song with a little spanish flare. It definately feels like your flying through a different dimension with all the different parts going on, but they all complement the music nicely. (3/5)
07.Pieces Of What: a short acoustic ballad that sees full instrumentation and strings come in during the last minute of the song. (3/5)
08.Of Moons, Birds And Monsters: this song is a journey in itself. In under five minutes it builds up into an awesome effect laden guitar solo, breaks down from a complex arrangement into a simple drum, acoustic, and exotic string composition, and then ventures off into a Sonic Youth kinda noise experimental side at the end. Definately one of the more compositonaly interesting pieces on the album. (4/5)
09.The Handshake: an acoustic driven piece that incorporates some much more ambient synth textures instead of lead riffs. (3/5)
10.Future Reflections: takes you through a variety of parts seeing every instrument in the spotlight. What starts out as a rather sparse song with just synthesizer eventually develops into more of an indie rock toon and the album ends with a choir like section mixed with FM noise, a pretty interesting song but not really all that listenable. (2/5)

Lyrics — 8
I'm no good when it comes to lyrics, that's what other sites are for. However what I can say is I kinda get a feeling, from the lyrics I do pay attention too when I'm not totally absorbed by the music alone, is that this band has a very care free senes about life. As for the singer's talent, he's got it. His voice really fits the music and can be very engaging on some of the tracks.

Overall Impression — 8
My first impression was "this is awful, this must be some kind of joke." But believe me when I tell you that is exactly how MGMT started, it was just two guys at college who decided to make annoying muscic and experiment with sounds and textures from relectronic instrumentation. But they have now become one of the most popular and rising acts of 2008. Orcaular Spectacular is the band's first release, and it's pretty good. I would say the first half of the CD is easier to listen to, but together the 10 songs that make up the album really take you on a journey that your not going to get from any other band. MGMT have written a beautiful and inteligent album that will really appeal to people looking for a more laid back and relaxed style of music, though the band definately shows some energy on their two most popular songs, Kids and Electric Feel.

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    mortengh
    agree with people who say this album could have been better, but it's still great. electric feel, time to pretend, kids, weekend wars and pieces of what are my personal highlights from this one.
    Lou_dog 71
    his is awful, this must be some kind of joke is exactly my first interpertation of the album but after lots of listening over i love it! 8.5/10
    treefish
    There's some real gold on this album, thanks for reviewing it. The lyrics are really interesting to note on in a lot of the songs because half of them don't have choruses. Heaps of people have said to me that they only like the singles but once you 'get' side B it really makes for interesting listening, especially in 'The Handshake' and 'Of Moons, Birds and Monsters' On another note, their Melbourne concert was murdered last week due to a dreadful sound system... (can't they fix feedback?)
    unchordial
    Some Cool tracks on this album for sure. They were great live at Coachella Festival too. But I feel like they rely too heavily on there sound rather than instumentation and song writing. Overly catchy, but alot of people want that I guess, personally i'm happy to let a wierd song take a while to grow on me. Phsycadelic? that's a stretch. It's Contemporary Pop and nothing more.
    [x]Huffy[x]
    lefthandman9876 wrote: this album could have been so much better, apart from the singles its just boring derivative prog wannabee stuff i bought this because i was very impressed by there jools holland perfomance, but this was half baked and should have been worked on more before it was released, shame as it could have been really spectacular..
    Half-baked? I'd like to see you do better. Amazing record.
    radioplay
    i have got to get this cd...ive been getting into these guys lately. and,uh,"...an indie rock toon"...really? a toon?
    Onza_jk
    Yeah i've heard some of MGMT's stuff, i think they are pretty good.
    Deacon Blues
    MGMT is a pop band for people who think pop music sucks. their lyrics are catchy and clever and you truly can listen to every song on this album. the musicianship is surprisingly top notch. i'm really looking forward to seeing what else these guys make. i've definitely got my eye on them. great album
    dgme92
    First review of this awesome album?! I'm shocked! MGMT are awesome, can't wait for their next work.
    charlie__flynn
    Its a great album. also when i saw them live they closed with 'kids' and in te type of synth solo section the guitarist blasted out an absolutley brilliant, almost shreddy, solo. love it.
    lefthandman9876
    this album could have been so much better, apart from the singles its just boring derivative prog wannabee stuff i bought this because i was very impressed by there jools holland perfomance, but this was half baked and should have been worked on more before it was released, shame as it could have been really spectacular..
    luffy_2010
    yeah i really like Electric Feel and Time To Pretend. MGMT is a pretty good band, as soon as i heard Indie Rock i was about to listen to something else but when i heard time to pretend for the first time i got into it pretty fast
    TOcheesehead
    every song on the album is great, you can listen to it all the way through without needing the skip button.
    crazy8rgood
    lefthandman9876 wrote: this album could have been so much better, apart from the singles its just boring derivative prog wannabee stuff
    They're hardly prog wannabees. Have you heard "Metanoia"? It's 13 minutes, it's a pretty damn good progressive song by them.