Review: “Oracular Spectacular” by MGMT (CD, 2008)

Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown, is the 2008 cd edition of the debut album Oracular Spectacular by American band MGMT. Does this have a lovely Electric Feel, or is it Time To Pretend that it’s any good? Read on…

MGMT - Oracular Spectacular (2008) album

The 10-track album opens with lead single, Time To Pretend, which gentle bubbles in and then heads into a catchy high-pitched synth hook. This song builds beautifully, often returning to that synth hook which sews the whole song together.

Acoustic guitar opens Weekend Wars, with Andrew VanWyngarden‘s vocals reminding me a little bit of Mick Jagger or of those found on some late Beatles recordings. This feels somewhat psychedelic influenced.

Up next is The Youth, which seems to flow perfectly from the previous track. Here, vocals are heavily affected, but there’s some great vocals too (‘The Youth are starting to change‘ is chanted). There’s some muted beats, and again synths are threaded through here.

Electric Feel follows this, and served as the second single. The pace is back up and there’s a steady thumping bass drum throughout. This feels far funkier and catchier than the last two tracks, and much more commercial.

Third and final single Kids is the only song that I recognise of theirs, and its constant use elsewhere (adverts, BBC1 TV trailers, films) made sure of that. Its great electro riffs and bassy synth, and catchy, distinct, sound musically and vocally, has led it rightly to be seen by many media companies as one of the finest songs of the 2000s.

Up next is sixth track 4th Dimensional Transition. This is certainly another lean towards the more psychedelic sounds, a style that also flows into next track Pieces Of What. Both songs are gentle, with the former being highly percussive, whilst the latter picks up the acoustic guitar again. Neither of these track really kept my interest.

Of Moons, Birds & Monsters, follows and this is a much more upbeat song, and easier to digest. There’s some great vocals and percussion here. Guitars get a great run at 1.27 and again about 10 seconds later. This track makes up for the previous two.

Penultimate track The Handshake, drifts in before bringing bass and guitars in. This is a catchy upbeat track, and it seems like MGMT are going to end this album on a high note. It constantly evolves throughout its 3m 40s, ending with some great chanting ‘We’ve got the handshake‘ repeated as a whistler delivers the melody.

Final track Future Reflections, is a really nice track that after it’s pacey intro, then mellows with some gentle vocals and organ, before growing with a multitude of instruments, sounds and vocals. It builds up perfectly before dropping out at the end.

MGMT – Time To Pretend lead single.

Where are MGMT now?

MGMT have gone on to release two further albums Congratulations (2011) and the eponymous MGMT (2013).

Their music has been widely praised by the international press, and the band have continued to find success with collaborations and performances. They have received numerous nominations for awards, including Grammy nominations, a Grammy for ‘Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical’, and have won 4 NME awards, including one for this album.


I really, really wanted to enjoy this album, having heard the singles, I found the album gets a little too distant in style from those mainstream songs about half-way through. This made it harder listening, thankfully returning to form from the Of Moons… track onwards.

Rated 3 stars! It's a nice album.
  • POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 3 / 5
  • 2008 UK CHART POSITION: #8, certified Platinum.
  • POP RESCUE COST: 40p from an eBay seller.

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