Oracular Spectacular

MGMT anthem “Time to Pretend” opens with a quavering electronic hook that drops into crinkly rhythmic thumps on the coattails of crisp drum cracks. The singers declare an ambition to live as moneymaking, model-marrying rock stars. Then the not-yet-25-year-old band mates reflect on the choice. “Yeah, it’s overwhelming. But what else can we do? Get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning commute? Forget about our mothers and our friends. We’re fated to pretend.”

Less crass than poignant, the lyrics praise vacuity while undercutting the judgment expressed. And the gleeful tune—like much of the Brooklyn duo’s debut album—sticks with a listener long after it’s over.

Reminiscent of much but derivative of nothing, MGMT plunders pop music history for pitches, meters and timbres. “Electric Feel” is acid-drenched disco: swinging funk redolent of glittering lights and platform shoes. “Kids” croons over sinister Double Dragon synth chords. By “4th Dimensional Transition” the duo is sailing past “Norwegian Wood,” tipping their caps at John Lennon’s instrumentation but saluting Dean Ween’s vocal sensibility.

Oracular Spectacular is mind bending, foot tapping, subversive, corrosive and endearing. Dig it.
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