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Their wry take on the hollow illusion of fame elevates it into a whole new level of cool. In ‘Time to Pretend’, Oracular Spectacular’s anthemic lead track [link widoczny dla zalogowanych] the contrast between the superficiality of fame and the wholesomeness of childhood and “digging up worms” makes the song powerful even without that immense riff that drives the melody. They are a band of contradictions and contrasts, summed up perfectly in the title of the duo's first full length [link widoczny dla zalogowanych] The Management’s Climbing to New Lows (2005).
Anthemic, hugely proportioned guitar rock tracks, ride alongside 70s electro funk numbers, on the record which combined a myriad of 60s and 70s pop and glam rock influences, T-Rex and Elton John some of the most prominent. But Oracular Spectacular also glimpsed the future in its distinctly new millennial feel. Thinking Bowie’s ‘Starman’ for the noughties wouldn’t be far wrong.
The first half of the album was stunning. Wistful straining vocals in ‘Weekend Wars’, the tremulous falsetto of ‘The Youth’, the driving rhythms of ‘Kids’ and the supercool funk vibe of ‘Electric Feel’ all combine to pack a twisting, contorted power punch. The signature distorted vocal over a pounding keyboard
MGMT started life as The Management, an experimental partnership formed between friends Ben Goldwasser and Andrew vanWyndgarden who met at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut sometime in 2002. The pair tried out various electronic arrangements, using a computer, a turntable, guitar pedals, a radio and a tape player, allowing their efforts to be infused with the electronica [link widoczny dla zalogowanych], soul, and 70s electro funk they found themselves gravitating towards.
MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular was one of the indie pop highlights of 2008 and was considered by many to be the best album of the year. But who are the precociously talented musical duo? And how did they come from nowhere to steal some of the most coveted annual accolades in the alternative music industry, including the NME’s Best Album of 2008 spot?
What’s more the UK’s Brit Awards which take place next week have the Brooklyn duo shortlisted for both Best International Group and Best International Album, and that's even before they've finished work on their eagerly anticipated new album, their 2009 sophomore record.
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Self confessed obnoxious experimentalists, the band admit that they found fame by accident, whilst trying to play devils advocate to their own success. There lies the glittering industrial strength irony at the centre of MGMT’s new millennial indie electro pop.
Whilst the NME can often be accused of valuing sensationalist critique, for better or worse, over and above a good old fashioned honest review, it seems that this time they actually agree with the masses who have resoundingly confirmed Oracular Spectacular as one of the best albums of 2008.
Experimental Origins, The Management
Oracular Spectacular was originally released in late 2007 (although both ‘Time to Pretend’ and ‘Kids’ both featured on their Time to Pretend EP) and quickly shot MGMT from virtual obscurity to major label chart topping status. The album was daring, catchy in the extreme, and full of the cool, dry, smiling irony that saw ‘Time to Pretend’ being given generous air time on popular teen shows like the UK’s Skins.
Oracular Spectacular and Timeless Electro Glamour
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