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.