"Oracular Spectacular is an arresting introduction to the illogical world of MGMT, and is the kind of album that’s a guilty pleasure without the guilt."
Rating: 8 / 10
Lauren Murphy, 11 Mar 2008
Originally released on digital-only format last October, the debut album from MGMT is the latest experimental discharge from Brooklyn - a location that’s sired so many top-notch acts in recent times that it’s swiftly rivalling Montreal as the world’s most fertile indie breeding ground. Its antecedent release goes some way in explaining the duo’s surprising popularity (a sold-out Irish debut beckons), as well as their fiercely buzzed-about ‘Ones to Watch in 2008’ status; but don’t let the hype bandwagon sway your stance. Oracular Spectacular is an arresting introduction to the illogical world of MGMT, and is the kind of album that’s a guilty pleasure without the guilt.
They’ve been pegged as predominantly experimental electro-nerds, but there’s a variety of styles deftly demonstrated here; psychedelic, pop, soul, funk, rock, folk and more. Producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mogwai) makes light work of cramming them all in without overwhelming the listener: see, for example, the deliciously addictive synth-pop of ‘Time to Pretend’ and ‘Kids’, or the slicker-than-slick, gritty ’70s soul of the superb ‘Electric Feel’. For good measure, try the woozy psych-pop fuzziness of uber-catchy ‘The Youth’, the perky folk jangle of ‘Pieces of What’, or ‘Weekend Wars’ – a song so Jagger-like that it could have been lifted from Their Satanic Majesties Request.
As Oracular Spectacular peters out, its momentum and direction is admittedly more difficult to pin down – but that’s nitpicking in the grand scheme of things. This is pretty spectacular stuff.