My opinion of MGMT and Congratulations has continued to rise since I fell for it (via the radio!) in June. And their tender scifi beast of burden video for titular and album-ending “Congratulations” continues to make me forget their saccharine debut.
1-up is a regular feature in which we drop a quarter into music we had once written off.
My relationship with MGMT’s first album was dicey: I liked “Electric Feel,” was vaguely annoyed by “Kids,” and outright hated “Time to Pretend” (which really feels part and parcel of the Road Trip soundtrack). I listened to the rest of the album, maybe once, with no enthusiasm.
What didn’t register was the weirdo prog tracks. And when I first listened to their sophomore album, Congratulations, I reacted in surprised glee: “This’ll show those MGMT fanboys and girls that I was right all along: self-indulgent crap.”
And then I heard “Brian Eno” on the radio, couldn’t place it, and found myself wondering what band made such a fun trip of a track. And then I heard “Someone’s Missing” on the radio and I knew I was in trouble. Several listens of the albums later, and I’m tentatively recommending this album. There’s still a lot of indulgence (“I Found a Whistle”, the last seven minutes of “Siberian Breaks,” “Lady Dada’s Nightmare”), but there a lot of good and several great tracks. Righteous influences abound (Broadcast, United States of America, 70s Beach Boys, et al). And even the indulgence is growing on me.
I’ve been playing “Someone’s Missing” tirelessly on repeat for a few weeks. I love its spectral steeliness and the way it flutters with oddball instrumentation (electric sitar, organ, harp) for the first two minutes. And then it explodes into an ecstatic march, with the faint hint of funk guitar underneath.
But man, becoming a MGMT fan is exhausting, so I’m going on vacation. But don’t worry, after July 4th, what’s extinct will come alive.