In Review...Courtney Wing, MGMT

>> Thursday 15 April 2010

Courtney Wing
Bouquet of Might and Fury

When you need assistance, it helps to have lots of friends to count on. Just ask Montreal singer-songwriter Courtney Wing. During the recording of his third release, Bouquet of Might and Fury, Wing assembled a talented, diverse crew of over 30 musicians – including members of Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Bell Orchestre, and the opera collective Liederwolfe – to help him reach his grandiose vision.

Bouquet of Might and Fury, then, is an expansive, ambitious affair with lavish textures and orchestral arrangements held in check, for the most part, by well-attuned production.

Album opener “The Cruel of Fair” is staggeringly beautiful: its lush, symphonic-folk sensibilities are joyous, melodic and complex enough that the song merits replays to excavate it fully. Unfortunately, no other track matches the songwriting gale of the lead-off track, but a few, the choral-driven “Jolie in July” and the stripped-down-but-still-potent “Holler”, come close.

While there a few hiccups – “Chloe’s” buildup is painfully slow and some melodies are lost in arrangement – Bouquet of Might and Fury is an impressive release that officially puts Courtney Wing on the map, and I’m curious what Wing’ll do next.

Might I suggest a Ten Provinces (and Three Territories) project?

-Mykael Sopher

Rating: 3.25/4.0
Choice Cuts: “The Cruel of Fair”, “Jolie in July”, “Holler”
R.I.Y.D. Great Lake Swimmers, A Northern Chorus, Sufjan Stevens if he were Canadian
Label: Proxenett Records


Nothing on Congratulations, MGMT’s second trick after the dazzling-but-uneven Oracular Spectacular, is as accessible and catchy as “Kids”, “Time to Pretend,” or “Electric Feel.”

(That’s bad!)

Instead, Congratulations is more cohesive, playing like a proper album as opposed to a collection of some-great, some-okay, and some-bad tracks.

(That’s good!)

But the psychedelic-loving rockers go mad scientist all over Congratulations, grabbing bits of pop, prog, art-rock, new wave, and glam (to name a few), tossing them into their massive sonic cauldron, and standing back to observe the results. Surfeit with colours, flavours and textures, the record contains some unpalatable songs, like the bloated “Siberian Breaks” and the meandering, uneasy “Lady Dada.”

(That’s bad!)

Yet in the end, there’s no question the talented songwriting duo of MGMT are just being their truly eccentric selves on Congratulations.

(That’s good!)

Which means it probably won’t move 500,000 units like Oracular Spectacular did.


-Mykael Sopher

Rating: 3.5/4.0
Choice Cuts: "Flash Delirium," “Congratulations,” and “Brian Eno.”
R.I.Y.D. Yeasayer, Of Montreal, Mind-altering substances ‘n’ music
Label: Columbia


Unknown 17 April 2010 at 16:50  

Props for using the word "surfeit" in your review. I learned that word from the NYT crossword last week and I was so convinced the answer was supposed to be "surplus".

Learning CAN be fun!

(That's good!)

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