MGMT mix of psychedelia, electronica and playful indie pop shouldn't be a mainstream hit. But something about it just works. It is an highly ambitious album, experimental and highly intelligent. Mixing styles of Secret Machines, Goldrush, The Flaming Lips, Sparks with the psychedelia of Pink Floyd and 13th Floor Elevators should give you enough influences to get a taste of this album.
Starting with the rousing "Time To Pretend" the album begins on a high. The opener was released on a previous, same titled EP, and is one of the more accessible tracks on the album. I like the fact it is a challenge, forcing the listener to push through their normal limits and open up to a new sounds and styles. "Weekend Wars" morphs two or three times in the single track, becoming a Bowie soundtrack half way through before breaking into a catchy chorus before it fades away again. "The Youth" is a slower complex layered example and shows their softer chilled underbelly.
"Electric Feel" and "Kids" are my standout tracks in a very heavily stacked top end of the album. Both commercial successes, both highly catchy indie pop records that are highlights of the music this year.
What I love most about it apart from the fusion of styles and the complex set of influences which are credited with such aplomb, is the uncertainty of where it going to take you next. So unpredictable and magical that it truly deserves it's accolades it has received this year.
A prime example of this is the almost tribal "4th Dimensional Transition" with its jungle drums and synth sounds followed by the acoustically led "Pieces Of What" that sounds like Mick Jagger attempting to cry his heart out. Beautiful sounds arranged and mixed with cracking lyrics - on an almost magical level the album finishes as it begins, on a high.
*** Like: Secret Machines, Goldrush, The Flaming Lips, Sparks with the psychedelia of Pink Floyd and 13th Floor Elevators ***