Ok. Maybe we like this dance-y duo because Andrew VanWyngarden’s dad is the boss man at the Memphis Flyer, our alt-weekly kin in Tennessee. But — as their sophomore effort reminds us — it probably has more to do with the band’s talent and referential innovation.
Congratulations definitely does not pick up where the popular Oracular Spectacular left off. That album was epic pop ear candy, with sticky melodies that danced in the brain for far too long. This album is illed with unanchored songs, some dulling and repetitive, some lirting with greatness. We wanted so badly to love “Someone’s Missing” and came close. The song eases us from Prince to ABBA toward climactic joy. Then it fades out, delated.
And “Siberian Breaks” begins with the jangle-y guitars and melodies of ‘60s pop, breaking off into a Leonard Cohen-y riff two minutes in and then… Nine minutes of spacey noises pumped on reverb and bits of melodies. It’s too demanding to love but, like the album as a whole, it leaves the listener beguiled.
DOWNLOAD: “Siberian Breaks”