LP3 is a continuation of what these guys do so well – wuzzy atmospheric electronics...
Gemma Padley 2008
With Thom Yorke as their label bedfellow, it is no surprise that electronic duo Ratatat tread a particularly experimental musical path. The third studio album from New Yorkers, Mike Stroud and Evan Mast, is awash with distortion-drenched melodies, punctuated by jittery clips, claps and clacks. Initially the off-kilter musical mayhem of LP3 is difficult to navigate, but with subsequent listens, Ratatat's unusual take on electronic-infused rock is intensely beautiful.
Mixing rock with electronica has been done to death in recent years, but Ratatat avoid sounding stale. Their previous two albums – 2004's self-titled debut and Classics in 2006 – expertly combined scuzzy guitar with twitchy electronics. While LP3 maintains the duo's confrontational yet simultaneously vulnerable trademark sound, it is less reliant on synth-laden guitar, instead making full use Mellotrons, wurlitzers and a broad selection of electronic keyboards.
The album starts in a pensive vein and becomes increasingly expansive. The unsettling echoey undertones of new single, Shiller, make it the perfect opening to an album fuelled by enticing melody lines. Falcon Jab is confident and gutsy, exploiting a myriad of effects including a Daft Punk-inspired woozy vocal, to great effect, while the frenetic, quirky Gipsy Threat could be the soundtrack to a cartoon chase.
Cultural references are wide. The cosmic calypso drive of Mirando, reggae vibe of Flynn and the oriental melody that gives Mi Viejo its emotional appeal, help to make LP3 a broad-minded record. Meanwhile, memorable melodies abound. Tracks like Shempi with their pop heavy hooks add to the album's accessibility.
Overall, there is a deftness of touch that bonds each stuttery, juddering track into a single, engrossing whole. This is no rag-bag of unconnected ideas. LP3 is a continuation of what these guys do so well – wuzzy atmospheric electronics with the clout of good old rock. Long may it continue.