This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
MGMT's Sardonic Spectacular
Release Date: October 2nd, 2007 (digitally)
When Vanwyngarden and Goldwasser, the visionaries at the helm of MGMT, met at Wesleyan University back in 2002, neither of them could have expected a four record, six figure deal from Columbia Records. Let alone being hand picked by Steve Lillywhite. Yet somehow they managed to keep those monstrous figures from tingeing their ingenuity. MGMT's Oracular Spectacular is a wondrous, synth-laden extravaganza that engenders a fanciful daze. This prodigal effort embodies a lofty electronic transition from psychedelic folk to glam rock.
"Time to Pretend" sets the hyperbolic tone imbued throughout Oracular Spectacular. MGMT poke fun at the hackneyed idea of an opulent rock star lifestyle, what they could have (or may have) easily indulged in: "This is our decision to live fast and die young. We have the vision, now let's have some fun!" The massive pummeling of synths is paved with psychedelic harmonies, recalling the vocal stylings of their current tour-mates Of Montreal. MGMT proceed to unabashedly express their over-imaginative minds, derisively belting, "We'll choke on our vomit and that will be the end/We were fated to pretend". Oh man, is this not the epitome of what your mother feared?
MGMT - "Time to Pretend"
Continuing this fanciful daze, MGMT tend to go all David Bowie on us. It's as though they studied the man's every wink. "Weekend Wars" is constructed upon an unconventional structure in a Ziggy Stardust-like manner. Waves of ride cymbal heavy, synth-infused parts ebb and flow, arriving at a cataclysmic, falsetto dominant conclusion. The stagy demeanor overrides all, demanding rhapsodies of praise.
Addictive songs like the downright funky "Electric Feel," the retro 70s "The Handshake," and the thumping electro-pop "Kids" prove Oracular Spectacular to be the year's most fantastical pageantry of synth-rock. These grandiose tunes throwback to various decades without restraint. At times I find it hard to digest such daft ideas, but ultimately MGMT's caustic premise is simply irresistible. They take themselves seriously, but not without some droll self-mockery.
MGMT will be opening for Of Montreal at The Avalon on Nov. 9th