Finding an unlikely middle point between Suicide's hostile, proto-electro punk art noise and the sardonic, pop-friendly sound of the Flaming Lips, MGMT started as electroclash musical terrorists but quickly grew into an eclectic, brainy pop group with psychedelic overtones. MGMT first formed in 2002, during Ben Goldwasser and Andrew Van Wyngarden's freshman year as art students at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. The band was initially known as the Management, and its shows consisted mostly of backing tapes, synthesizers, and prerecorded vocals playing as Goldwasser and Van Wyngarden engaged the audience in a manner somewhere between performance art and good old-fashioned punky hostility. By their senior year, things had toned down considerably on-stage and the duo began augmenting its live sound with backing musicians.
After graduating, MGMT released an electro-rock EP, 2005's Time to Pretend, on the tiny indie label Cantora Records. Good reviews (particularly for the title track, which would later crack the U.K. Top 40) and extensive touring brought the duo to the attention of British producer Steve Lillywhite in his role as an A&R executive for Columbia Records, which signed the band to a major long-term deal in 2006. Regrouping in Brooklyn, the duo partnered with another producer, Dave Fridmann, and recorded Oracular Spectacular, a far more musically expansive album that was released digitally in late 2007. A traditional CD release followed in January 2008, and Oracular Spectacular ultimately enjoyed both critically approval and commercially success, with the album selling over 500,000 copies in the U.S. and going platinum in Australia, the U.K., and Ireland.
MGMT served as Of Montreal's opening act for their extensive 2007 tour, during which Van Wyngarden and Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes began sketching out ideas for a side project called Blikk Fang. Although Blikk Fang planned on releasing an album in 2009, touring commitments kept the members of MGMT busy, and all side projects were temporarily shelved as the band spent the better part of two years on the road. In 2009, MGMT began working with producer Sonic Boom on their second album, Congratulations, which was released in the spring of 2010. ~ Stewart Mason & Andrew Leahey, Rovi