Ratatat, ‘LP3′

By • Jul 16th, 2008 • Category: Album Reviews

For all the beauty in the New York duo’s appropriately titled third full-length, Ratatat still sounds like a band that veered a bit off course – possibly as early as its 2004 debut – and now finds itself struggling to get to where it best fits in.

That’s not to say LP3 isn’t an interesting and engaging collection of minimalist experiments. It is. In fact, the tunes blend together so wonderfully during the almost 45-minute release that it feels more like a movie score than a freestanding album.

But therein lies the problem with Evan Mast and Mike Stroud’s instrumental arrangements. LP3 doesn’t feel like an album at all. It feels like an accompanying piece of music, except that it lacks that other half. There’s no story. There are no visuals. There’s nothing but the delicate blips and distant bleeps that intertwine throughout the 13 songs. And all scene-setting potential loses its impact when it’s alone. Ratatat shouldn’t be making records. They should be in a Hollywood studio working on backing tracks for offbeat films.

The upbeat “Shempi” might work as a soundtrack to the hustle and bustle of a busy city sidewalk. The flamenco-like guitars on “Mi Viejo” are perfect for a sunrise drive through the vast southwest. If the anticipation of “Dura” could be used during a bizarre, opening credits sequence, then the hopeful “Bruleé” would close the film.

Alone, however, LP3 looses all atmosphere. And without indulging our inner filmmakers – creating stories or visualizing sequences in our heads while listening to the tracks – the record sounds incomplete.

And a score without a film is almost as lonely as a film without a score.

Soundcheck Magazine, July 2008

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