Ratatat - Magnifique

The duo of Mike Stroud and Evan Mast have stayed remarkably true to the sound they developed on Ratatat's first album, 2004's self-titled affair. Though there have been slight stylistic diversions on the albums that followed, especially on 2008's LP3, their core of neatly wound, double-tracked guitar melodies, thrumming basslines, and tight beats has remained intact. Though it was released five years after its predecessor LP4, a gap that might lead one to think that big changes were brewing, 2015's Magnifique delivers everything fans might expect from a Ratatat album. Stripping away much of the excess instrumentation and frills that adorned the previous two albums, Magnifique mostly sticks to the basics on the way to becoming the duo's most brightly immediate record yet, bouncing between sunny, hook-heavy uptempo tracks that have the kind of manic energy that could lead people to tear off their shirts and seriously lose it on the dancefloor and relaxed, soft rock-inspired songs that serve as a nice soundtracktatat plays like an indie spin on "Aerodynamic" from Daft Punk's Discovery, albeit with a slightly less arch feel. The bittersweet naïveté that floats through the album also recalls a more roughed-up version of Plone's nursery rhyme electronica, particularly on "Cherry," the sleepy epic that closes Ratatat and pays tribute to the band's former name. A slight hip-hop vibe also pops up from time to time, most clearly on "Crips"â insistent bass and rattling beat, but also in the spoken word interludes that dot the album.

Often, Ratatat's music is deceptively simple; in particular, Mast's beats are more interesting and intricate than they sound at first. They sound uniquely live, but their clicking, stuttering rhythms are definitely electronic and would be difficult, if not impossible, for a live drummer to produce. "Everest" features a particularly well-crafted beat that pops in and out of the guitar'n'synth mayhem atop it, making the song (and the rest of the album, for that matter) good for closehe way they intended. Magnifique doesn't show a ton of artistic growth or progression; it's more of a rebranding that tightly focuses on their strengths and passes them to the consumer like a sharp, swift punch to the brain and feet.