Ratatat, “Magnifique”

Ratatat_Magnifique-coverRatatat
Magnifique
XL
8/10

As one of the most successful instrumental bands in recent memory, Ratatat has managed to sell a ton of records, tour with the likes of Interpol, Björk, and Daft Punk, and be the first band to play inside the Guggenheim Museum. Not bad for two New York guys with just a bunch of electronics. Ratatat’s longevity is due to their  supremely inventive use of effects—most notably their signature synthy guitar lines, a singular sound in rock and electronic music which leaves scant room for a wailing frontman. Magnifique, their new opus, is a fourteen-track tour de force that will stand as one of their best.

Conceptual in its delivery, there are specific “Intro” and “Outro” tracks and ballady interludes (instrumentals within the instrumentals?) that bring reprieve between aggressive bangers. Magnifique’s second track  “Cream On Chrome” mines familiar territory—a high, hypnotic guitar line snakes around a crawling, funkified lower synth—and it’s a welcome offering. By mid-album, however, we’re in a stompier landscape (“Nightclub Amnesia” is Prodigy without the hyperactivity). With the peaks and valleys that drive listeners through the different sonic landscapes of Magnifique, one can’t help but marvel at that peerless Ratatat magic.

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