MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

The term Oracular Spectacular might not mean much, if anything, at all--it's essentially nonsensical--but that doesn't stop it feeling exactly right. Here is a band that treats dizzy cross-eyed awe and a vast bounding sense of sonic weightlessness as their yardstick, jostling to surpass themselves on a track-by-track basis and aiming for the musical equivalent of performing somersaults in tye-dye t-shirts off the rings of Jupiter. MGMT seemingly submit this debut album as an application to acquire and even supersede The Flaming Lips' previously uncontested mantle as spiritual leaders of over-sized Technicolor psychedelic-indie with a soul, weird but not so weird that swelling crowds and even flirtations with the charts aren't a foregone conclusion. "Time to Pretend" opens and sets a tone for the record, producer David Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev) providing a familiar expanse for them to riff across with bull's-eye synths, massive drums and their twist on the template--retro 80s electro and abstract shapes, see Suicide and the Talking Heads for reference. "The Youth" is centred around a hypnotically looping refrain that recalls Pink Floyd and David Bowie, as interpreted by a mellow Secret Machines and the brilliant "Pieces of What" is Ryan Adams spinning through cosmos with classic Neil Young on his headphones. "Future Reflections" meanwhile stand on its hands on a line somewhere in-between XTC and Ween. Thrillingly eclectic, endlessly colourful and never predictable. It's all a bit ridiculous, but indeed spectacularly so. --James Berry

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