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MGMT: Congratulations

Columbia

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Congratulations finds MGMT abandoning the cheeky synth-pop of Oracular Spectacular in favor of cheeky '70s runway-prog a la Roxy Music. The arrangements on Congratulations are pleasingly lush and decadent – the sort of thing only a couple of ambitious pranksters with a big-label budget and just the right combination of uppers and downers could produce. But the album suffers from a cloying kind of calculation. The move towards literary psychedelia and Renaissance Fair melody is a bold one, but it feels forced. Elsewhere, it's just a bore. Check the 11-minute should-be epic "Siberian Breaks," which manages to be completely forgettable. The cloud of self-consciousness under which MGMT operates has always been at once the band's greatest asset and its biggest liability; and though Congratulations is more mature than the previous material, it's an awkward, contrived sort of maturity, like a teenager who grows a wispy mustache just because he can. 2 out of 5 stars.

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