Thursday, July 22, 2010

MGMT Know Where Syd Barrett Lives

Last week I saw MGMT live at L.A.'s beautiful outdoor Greek Theatre, and it's taken a week for my synapses to recover. I didn't expect to get refried by a band like MGMT—along with the audience, I was expecting most of album one with a smattering of album two. Instead, we got the opposite, the band launching into extended, buzzing, pulsating versions of their most complex songs. While it's true that the audience hollered loudest to their three most popular songs, I was genuinely impressed with their fearless mission to convert the Greek Theatre into a psychedelic ballroom. Their second album, Congratulations, takes a bit of work, and their songwriting has sacrificed the clean lines of their first hits for more fractal melodies, but I find this album a far more rewarding experience. The song titles pay tribute to the well-known Brian Eno and the less well-known Dan Treacy (of the 80s cult neo-psych Television Personalities), but the songs themselves pay even closer tribute to Love's Arthur Lee and the ultimate psych hero, The Pink Floyd's sainted Syd Barrett (the latter of whom was also the subject of a 1981 Television Personalities track). Rock history continues to eat itself—today's bands no longer distinguish between hero-worship and hero-worshipper-worship. In what direction MGMT will point their spacecraft next is up to them, but they deserve congratulations for transforming their hero-worshipper-worship into a work of art.

Here's the amazing, six-course feast that is "Siberian Breaks":

1 comment:

  1. I have been listening to this album on repeat - it's fabulous.