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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 12 March 2008
Along with Vampire Weekend MGMT have been garnering plenty of praise and column inches for their debut album Oracular Spectacular. The music press seems to have it all sewn up at the moment, we're told at the beginning of the year which bands are going to be big and we dutifully go out and buy the albums and hey presto they're big (until the second album comes along usually) so do MGMT measure up?

Well the album gets off to a thumping start. Time to Pretend with its heavy synths and drums makes their intentions clear: to live fast and die young, 'Let's make some music/Make some money/Get some models for wives'. It's not just hedonistic excess though. The Youth is a call to arms filled with optimism about change which brings in strings to its arm waving chorus. As a Prince fan I was very pleased to hear his influence all over the funky Electric Feel.

The rest of the album is soaked in 1970's influences like Bowie, The Rolling Stones, prog rock and lots of others that I'm far too young to name accurately so your enjoyment of this album may depend on how much you liked them the first time around. Produced by Mercury Rev's Dave Fridmann it has a wide soundscape filled with warmth and depth. But most importantly it is filled with invention, humour and the vigour of youth ( having seem them on telly the other day they look about 15 years old, god I'm getting old).
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VINE VOICEon 10 April 2008
What is it with all these four star reviews?
Shame on you. Unclog your ears and you'll see that if there is any justice at all these guys will be the Strokes/Franz Ferdinand of 2008 because they are better than either of them.
Unlike many other 'hot new things' these guys more than justify any attendant hype.

I saw them on 'Later' and ordered the album the next day. I hoped it would be good but didn't expect it to be this good. This is the first band in a while that truly manage to produce perfect pop and remain effortlessly cool. As other reviewers have stated, there are slew of discernible influences in their music, if you choose to go looking for them, but no particular artist or era stands out as a primary source.

This is that rare thing an album of potent musical quality that provides instantly catchy but durable pop music(I loved this album from the start and it's still getting better with every play).If you like music you should own this already.
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on 29 September 2015
MGMT were always a band I knew for one track and one track only - Kids. Having heard this in 2008 on Now 72, this track remained my only exposure to the band, until happening upon them after looking up Time To Pretend from hearing it in an episode of Skins. All I can say is - this album is great. Catchy tracks that combine late 70s/early 80s neo-psychedelic music with modern pop and dance tracks make for a consistent set of tracks, with great meaningful lyrics (something that seems to be lacking elsewhere in today's music), great instrument playing (with solos and extended instrumental sections reminiscent of early Pink Floyd - Of Moons, Birds and Monsters is a stand out track on this front) and a few popular tracks to make it still appeal to the masses. Definitely a stand out album of the 00s (and definitely a unique band) and should be up there with the likes of Green Day's American Idiot, The Killers' Hot Fuss and Radiohead's Kid A in the best alt rock albums of the decade. For those who are skeptical of diving into what some may consider as slightly 'strange' music, check out Time to Pretend, then buy the album. You wont regret it.
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on 16 February 2008
Completely agree with some of the other reviews, very strong influences from Bowie, Stranglers and perhaps even The Who. Awesome use of drums and bass which really complements some of the soft or subtle electro sounds.

Great band to start 2008 with, got the album the other day and can't stop listening to the songs. Every song on the album has something interesting about it.
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on 3 June 2008
Saw these guys on "Later" and was incredibly impressed. As I remember it was a particularly good episode that night; We Are Scientists were on the bill too. Bought the album the following day. I have to admit, it took a few listens to get used to the non-live sound I'd heard on 'Later' but I quickly became hooked. Have since seen them live, and prefer that particular brand of their sound - it's a bit more 'rock' inspired, a lot more raw and a bit more "we're here to just jam." Nonetheless, this is a remarkable achievement. In a year that I feel has so far been characterised by 'average' albums that have been hyped to death, this is one that genuinely lives up to its promise.
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on 22 December 2008
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 ***
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on 28 December 2007
This is an important new record to kick off 2008 and the band and record company have wisely held it over until the new year. I believe that the CD has been available in the US for a couple of months now.

Classifying it, however, is a real tough one. There are some real curveballs in there - notably, "Electric Feel" which sounds just like the Bee Gees. But don't be put off by that, this is no Scissors Sisters-style music for hen parties album. There are two tracks at least that look odds on to appear in some future, "Now That's What I call Indie" collection -"Time to Pretend" and "Kids" tick all the boxes that go to make up the "anthem" category.

All in all, there are enough bubbles and bleeps and enough innovation to make this a fascinating listen. The mode is primarily electronic but guitars do get a look in. All in all, an impressive pop album.
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on 22 December 2014
Another pleasant musical surprise I found only recently. Catchy tunes that stick in your head for the rest of the day with especially Time To Pretend being a classic on this album. It never fails to inspire me; one of the best songs ever made as far as I am concerned.
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on 26 March 2008
MGMT (formerly called, and presently still pronounced, Management) are another (where do they all come from?) band from Brooklyn, New York. They make music with fuzzy guitars and ebbing keyboards and add sweet sounding lyrics from a baby-faced cherub with cool hair who sounds a little bit like Adam Lazzara. This is all sugar-dipped and produced in a manner which glosses without drowning character, and the end result is a debut album called Oracular Spectacular which is rather pleasing.
The opener Time to Pretend is arguably one of the best opening tracks ever. The effect of the contrast between the droning bass-line and chiming synth is as immediate as it is glorious. There are also bloopy noises placed at the most inappropriate points possible - it all adds to the lush, hazy sound. Weekend Wars is sort of Supergrass meets Of Montreal sound which isn't as big as it seems to think it is given its first single (albeit unofficial yet not really) status. The Youth follows the same sort of pattern but Electric Feel is excellent, boasting a sort of electro-sad-mariner starting sequence before efflorescing into a perverse mix of various different styles with vocals echoed over the top, the whole thing is almost clockwork in its delivery.

Kids is the first song I heard, and thus remains my favourite. A cute keyboard tune overlays thumping drums fused with that deep, buzzing guitar which by this stage is only commonplace. The vocals here are particularly good, a sort of psychotic abstract theme which wouldn't be a million miles away from Placebo in their more cryptic state. It's as haunting as it is wonderful - you should listen to it. 4th Dimensional Transition is poor and serves as the token relapse from any form of substance, so let's move on the Pieces of What, which to me is Supergrass - in a good way. In a break from the somewhat cluttered electric theme of Oracular Spectacular this song is a nice intermission. Of Moons, Birds and Monsters is potentially the best song on the album, as it degenerates and strips down to a gentle, shimmering tapestry of layered synth and gorgeous guitar uppers. If there's a song on here that proves the band in question is more than what they come across as, this is it. The Handshake is really very impressive too, with a nice opening and mid-riff which ends in nice choral loop which really could have been stretched out and played with a bit more. Never mind. Future Reflections is a good closer because it's hard to pin a descriptive on any more than a minute of it at a time, it starts quite slowing and seems to get more lively towards the end before draining away with a couple of oooooooooooohs. Then you go back and do it all again because you can't possibly take it all in at once.

MGMT have released a solid debut which for the most part is both refreshing and to a lesser extent, original. The band is influenced heavily perhaps subconsciously by the likes of Hot Chip, Supergrass, Of Montreal and also manage to sound a bit like (not in a bad way) White Rose Movement in places. That aside, what they have done they have done how they wanted, and they have done it properly and thoroughly. There is no trade-off between over-glossing and a genuine sound, which is what plagues so many of their peers. It's also nice to know that amidst the chronic-hipsters and preppy, faux-indie crap that plastic, top-heavy outfits like NME and have decided to push recently, there really is some music still happening behind the scenes, music which can and will rise above its station in a way that only genuine music appreciators will ever comprehend.
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on 7 May 2008
I'm actually surprised by the 2 bad reviews this album has received because I've listened to the 'Time To Pretend' ep and Oracular Spectacular and have fallen in love with both. I originally avoided listening to MGMT because I believed they were most probably undeservingly over-hyped and a bit 'cooler-than-thou' for my liking. However, I'm sorry I procrastinated because now I literally can't get enough of their beautiful, psychedelic, Bowie-esque, electric gorgeousness. Oracular Spectacular is one of the best albums I've heard in ages and I'd urge anyone to give it a try.
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