Ratatat first appeared on my “rad radar” when they opened a Faint show at The Ogden a few years ago. Opening acts can be hit-or-miss sometimes, but I retrospectively regret arriving late that particular night. The NYC-based instrumental act quickly became a hit with hipsters and even certain hip hippies via festival bookings like Bonnaroo and even an uber-special Guggenheim gig. Widespread appreciation of the duo was overdue, though, until doing bootleg hip hop remixes on the sly side project tip finally culminated in cutting tracks “Alive” and MGMT co-production “Soundtrack to my Life” with Kanye “Ima letchu finish” protege Kid Cudi. LP4, Ratatat’s fittingly-titled fourth full-length, drops Tuesday on iTunes–not to mention surviving physical retailers like 303 neighbor Twist & Shout.
Being a vocalist myself, instrumental music is rarely compelling enough to captivate my attention for long, but Ratatat’s brand of heroic guitar harmonies and sick synth beats is pure aural pleasure. Electric guitar leads are especially played out IMO, still six-stringer Mike Stroud has a cocky melodic confidence that could charm the chastidy belt off the planet’s biggest prude. LP4 isn’t necessarily a radical departure from the previous LP3, though there are a few new instruments involved (theremin?), as well as a full string section. Also, although Ratatat’s music is primarily deprived of pipes, random vocal samples occasionally dot their sonic landscape. LP4‘s samples give randomness a whole new meaning. “I been thinking what to do with my future–I could be a mud doctor, checking out the Earth…underneath,” closes out first single “Party with Children.” Yeah and I used to wait for people after school and beat ’em up, if I didn’t like ’em, if they were pretty or they smiled too much, is another hands down winner in the randomness department.
“Party with Children” (in a non-pederast way) here.