Oracular Spectacular (Columbia)

Phases & Stages


Oracular Spectacular (Columbia)

Disheveled Brooklynites Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser seem unlikely to offer up a scorching, beat-laden debut on a major label, but then the new millennium's grooves have already been entrusted to an odd assortment of freaks and geeks. Slicing Bowie's sound and vision with the bluest-eyed bits of Barry Gibb, Oracular Spectacular proves the pair playfully conscious of their untested success with the hipster-irony of opener "Time to Pretend": "I'll move to Paris, shoot some heroin, and fuck with the stars" harmonizes the duo with disaffected vocals reminiscent of Her Space Holiday. Underlying the mock-star attitude of modern futility lies MGMT's attempt to stem the inevitable tide of maturity. The anthemic carpe diem of "The Youth" juxtaposes the cryptic lost innocence of "Kids," which kicks with a skuzzy Ratatat riff, but the irresistible disco-glam groove of "Electric Feel" rises as a centerpiece. The ringing acoustic reverb of "Pieces of What" wraps youthful anxiety in T. Rex, while the prog wash of "4th Dimensional Transition" and "Of Moons, Birds & Monsters" hearken further 1970s UK. Helmed by Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann, MGMT's eccentric elecro twists are well-managed, even as closing numbers "The Handshake" and "Future Reflections" bring the album full circle with a nostalgic regret at selling out that which they've hardly had time to cultivate.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Entanglement (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, Dec. 13, 2019

Levitation Album Reviews
Dallas Acid
The Spiral Arm (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Nov. 8, 2019

More by Doug Freeman
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
A tribute to tattoo legend Shanghai Kate, Hi How Are You Day, and Karima Walker highlight our recommended shows

Jan. 20, 2023

Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
The Linda Lindas, Momma, Caramelo Haze, JaRon Marshall, and more highlight our recommended shows for the week

Jan. 13, 2023



One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle