MGMT, "Congratulations"

Album Review
4.5
<p>About 30 seconds into <a href="/artist/mgmt/946806">MGMT</a>'s second album, "Congratulations," singer Andrew VanWyngarden asks, "How will I know if it's working?" Indeed, leading up to the set's release, the duo announced that the follow-up to its synth-pop-heavy 2007 debut, "Oracular Spectacular," would be a wild departure. The new nine-song album blends psychedelia with elements of post-punk, surf rock and even folk. The track "Someone's Missing" begins sparsely with soft guitars and sitar-like effects that echo the falsetto vocals before swelling into an easygoing funk jam. Cuts like "Song for Dan Treacy" and "Brian Eno" are surf-tinged and vaguely danceable, while the approximately 12-minute-long "Siberian Breaks" channels English cult group <a href="/artist/television-personalities/5832">Television Personalities</a> and features dreamy vocal arrangements reminiscent of <a href="/artist/simon-garfunkel/5674">Simon &amp; Garfunkel</a> and <a href="/artist/the-mamas-the-papas/5130">the Mamas &amp; the Papas</a>. Despite its retro influences, MGMT isn't out of touch: "Lady Dada's Nightmare" is an eerie, instrumental nod to a certain pop star. So to answer VanWyngarden's question: Yes, it's working. --Lindsey Fortier</p>