BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: MGMT: Oracular Spectacular (Sony/BMG)

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MGMT: The Youth
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: MGMT: Oracular Spectacular (Sony/BMG)

As regular visitors to Elsewhere are aware, not everything posted here is a work of unalloyed genius which will be treasured down many lifetimes. (Although there are however more than a few like that I would hope.)

But sometimes albums just come along that you are very glad to have heard and simply enjoy for what they mean to you on some odd subconscious level.

I suspect this one is like that for me -- although I note it has picked up some substantial reviews in Britain. Drowned in Sound called it "a blissful 40 minutes of high-end stereophonic joy", and NME said "you'll be hard pressed to find a record with more musical depth and warmth this year." The Alternative Press said simply "it's brilliant".

Well, that latter comment might be a little over-the-top, but these two guys from Connecticut -- Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser -- have delivered a very loveable debut which sways through pop and electronics, stacked up choruses, suggestions of surf music and glam rock, neo-psychedelic pop-rock, hints of 60s B-grade soundtracks and much more.

And they wrap it up within 10 songs (produced by Flaming Lips knob-twiddler Dave Fridmann) which are sunny and elevating, and remind me of the best but least known pre-psychedelic/ambitious pop albums of the mid to late 60s. And of course Flaming Lips, Polyphonic Spree at al.

There's a slightly cynical worldview at work but the lyrics are also shot through with optimism which is echoed in the chipper and clever arrangements.

I doubt MGMT will make it to too many people's collections but I can confidently say this, if this does you'll play a lot more than you might think. maybe even in years to come?

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