First off – If you liked MGMT’s singles, then there really isn’t much point bothering with Congratulations. Fans of “Kids”, or “Electric Feel”, really, don’t go expecting any more of them on this record. Because there’s none of it. No catchy hooks, dance rhythms, or lines to sing along to. Congratulations is a pure psychedelic freak-out, seeing MGMT pay tribute to the psychedelic bands of the 70s (such as King Crimson) in their own, unique way. This is MGMT playing the music they want to play, making music as art and not to sell.
There are no singles on this record. There are no potential singles, not even one. There’s no more dance tracks, that’s for sure. Everyone seems to be assuming that “Flash Delirium” will be the single, but only because it was the track that the group uploaded for streaming to give everyone a taste of the new record, not because it is actually a single. Congratulations is massive and epic, flowing as one long track, as though it was broken up not to separate different tracks, but just for the listener’s convenience. The tracks are all brilliant, but when they’re listened to on their own, they sound a little out of place. It’s when the record is heard as a whole that it really shines.
“It’s Working” is a brilliant way to open the record. It prepares the listener for what their next 45 minutes will be like – wacky, weird and wonderful. The whole record is a huge freak out, as MGMT create their musical genius like they’ve never done before. Sure, Oracular Spectacular had a few cute singles, but it wasn’t really that good as a whole. Congratulations is. As long as you’re not the kind of person who needs a single it will blow you away.
MGMT have followed in the footsteps of their forefathers, the Flaming Lips and Radiohead – moving from more commercially-friendly music, they’ve created a record that will flop on the radio but thrive in the underground. This is unlike anything you’ve ever heard before; by paying tribute to so many groups and styles at once, everything is a breath of fresh air, especially considering what their last release was like. So completely different, and so completely welcome.
Choice tracks: i can’t do it. every track is truly equally amazing.
If you like: NOT Oracular Spectacular; YES the Flaming Lips; King Crimson; Radiohead, Yeasayer; Grandaddy; White-Album era Beatles