Pop duo MGMT defies critics on "Congratulations"

Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:43pm EDT
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By Braden Reddall

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Psychedelic pop act MGMT has followed up its celebrated first album by departing from the sound that grabbed the music world's attention and offering something more timeless, and less dance-friendly.

Early, critical reaction to new album "Congratulations," officially released on Tuesday, is somewhat frosty, and it marks a reversal of fortune for a band that garnered two Grammy nominations only a few months back.

Yet, the duo from Brooklyn, New York, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden, say they don't worry much about what people think is cool, and seem unattached to the electronica sound of their major-label debut, "Oracular Spectacular."

"In many ways, our new album could have come out in like 1970, and it would have made sense," VanWyngarden told Reuters in an interview on Monday, ahead of the first of two gigs at San Francisco's historic Fillmore theater.

He acknowledged that much of the recognition for "Oracular Spectacular" had emerged from the dancefloor.

"But even when it came out, we weren't really big into dance music, or listening to it, or making it," he said.

"To be honest, we kind of feel a little bit out of touch with what is going on now," VanWyngarden added. "(We're) in our own little sphere of what we think is cool, and I don't think it's necessarily what most people think is cool."

Entertainment weekly described "Congratulations" as "strikingly uncommercial," while Rolling Stone called it a "hazy, hit-and-miss album that will likely alienate some fans of the debut, but one that also testifies to MGMT's restlessness as songwriters and human beings."   Continued...