MGMT – “Congratulations” 7”
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2012
Like Arctic Monkeys, MGMT were somehow on the receiving end of a lot of my ire before ever actually listening to them in depth. The singles from their debut, Oracular Spectacular, were infectious synth pop gems, but the way the band torpedoed their surefire road to success by making a weird, psychedelic follow-up really earned my respect. Granted, my respect is almost guaranteed if you namedrop Television Personalities front man Dan Treacy in a song title. Congratulations was a wonderfully weird album that received less than wonderful reviews. Produced by the living legend Sonic Boom, it sounds like the album Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden wanted to make. There are shades of their old sound on the Erol Alkan remix that haunts the b-side on this 7”, but “Congratulations” on its own is a spare, laid-back affair that borrows the descending chord progression from The Band’s “The Weight” and somehow wins soulfulness on the back of acoustic guitar and falsetto vocals. It’s beautiful and trippy and goes nicely with the 16-page wordless comic that adorns the 7”s gatefold.