Oracular Spectacular (Columbia)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Jan. 25, 2008
MGMTOracular 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.