Words by Nick Hodgins
This past July, the electronic guitar-synth duo that is Ratatat released their fifth studio album, Magnifique, after a five year period since their last record, LP4. Returning to their early guitar-driven sound, the New York artists have managed to find the perfect balance between their electronic side and their rock and roll qualities.
Tracks such as the post intro “Cream on Chrome” and “Abrasive” are led by repeating guitar riffs, complete with highs, lows and squeals in all the right places; where songs such as the album’s title track “Magnifique” manage to slow it down to a melodic drawl led by a single piano note to keep the breezy pace flowing.
Mike Stroud (guitar, melodica, synthesizer & percussion) and Evan Mast (bass, synthesizer & percussion) turned to a Hawaiian lap steel for a few tracks, which can be heard well in the half-speed island-esque song aptly titled “Drift.”
Other tracks such as “Countach” and “Nightclub Amnesia” fall under the more aggressive songs on the record, featuring a stuttering over-driven guitar and pounding drum beat, sure to keep your head bobbing before the synth gets it swaying.
Magnifique as a whole is a well-composed album of highs, lows, lefts and rights, and just when you start to feel comfortable, the duo pulls another trick out to keep you on your toes. One minute you’ll be borderline nodding off (in a good way) to the relaxing vibes of songs, and the next you’ll be entranced by the hypnotic combination of synth-driven guitars and funk-filled bass lines.
Ratatat is currently touring in support of their new release and are preparing to make their way overseas after wrapping up the U.S. leg of the tour in California. Not to worry though, they’ll be returning to New York City on September 3rd.
© July 17th, 2015
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