“They were just getting ready to swing and knock me out with a baseball bat…” REVIEW: Ratatat – LP4
I adore the music of Ratatat. I admit, I was a little late of discovering it, not really hearing LP3 until the middle of last year and being told of their other material around then too. LP4 blasts almost immediately, much like its predecessor. Opener “Bilar” has a chunky, loving nature about it, whereas second song “Drugs” opens with a spoken word sample, similar to those on the songs of jj and Titus Andronicus, and proceeds darkly, with a throbbing beat, that continues similarly in the brilliant, most varacious and quoted above song, “Neckbrace”, it has an openly weird and disturbing sound, with strong implication of pain and injury, if I was mugged, I probably wouldn’t mind being mugged to this song. Maybe most omnipresent is the influence of birds, with sounds that you’d figure had just came out of a documentary and put through and rehashed in Ratatat’s various “instruments”.
Like “Shiller” on LP3, LP4 has slow, melodic songs to break up the pace, “We Can’t Be Stopped” is the prime example and is a perfect bridge from “Neckbrace” onto “Bob Gandhi” that starts off slow but rapidly ascends into a raucously brilliant song, showcasing a lot of the style and flair previously seen on the last album. “Bob Gandhi” ends with a rap-like stutter of a sample, that then immediately breaks into “Mandy” a song with handclaps so fresh that somehow come across as exciting and a deep monotone voice to break up the high pitched instrumental squealing. Then its “Mahalo” which is just so hallucinatory beach-inducing throughout you can feel the Hawaii vibe. After this is the previously released “Party With Children”, which has a freakishly plain, but brilliant, video, that like “Bob Gandhi” reveals again a similarity to the duo’s previous album.
“Sublocks” features some M.I.A.-esque bullet shots, and a squeaky guitar that makes the song, giving it structure amongst the at-first non-sequential background sounds, it fades out to the sounds of wildlife, that bridges the gap unto “Bare Feast” a seemingly Asian-inspired breakdown of noise, that dips and dives with some electronic swagger, I think this song stands out differently than some of the others, a divergence that continues with the rolling drum backing and bully-sampling of “Grape Juice City”. LP4 is concluded with the winding down of “Alps” that goes to tie-up the album in a neat little bow, with a sound encompassing many of the feats of the album’s other songs. In conclusion, the new Ratatat album is brilliant, yes, but the only downsides are that it seems to be too much of a direct descendent from the 2008-released LP3, which is not so much as shocking just, not surprising, as the lack of direct and strong, impulsive divergence from their familiar sound has only left them to get better and better at it, and they are probably the best at the glitchy-electronic, sample-heavy beat making that they do, (Gold Panda is a visible threat though), yet I recommend a listen before you pick up a copy as Ratatat will not appeal to everyone.
As a bonus, check out this, off the first of Ratatat’s previously released Remix Mixtapes.
Dizzee Rascal – Fix Up, Look Sharp (Ratatat Remix)