Ratatat: Magnifique

New Ratatat golly gee what? It’s been several years since Ratatat’s last album and for many fans that’s been bad news and everyone else is in for a big surprise. Finally satiating the fan’s thirst for more, Ratatat is releasing a new album entitled Magnifique. Without a doubt, this is going to be big.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Ratatat is an instrumental duo composed of Evan Mast and Mike Stroud. Ratatat is all about big sound, a mixture of alluring electronic melodies, catchy guitar lines, and a whole slew of rhythmic tricks to keep you going. The two have been around for a little more than a decade now and so Ratatat has really had some time to grow as a band. Magnifique is really a testament to that, but to be clear (and this is where fans should take warning), the band has deviated a little. It appears they hit a clinamen, there’s been a shift in style a little. The music sounds fuller and populated by more voices. Furthermore, there seems to be a slightly larger focus on Ratatat’s strings. In no way does this impact the quality of their latest album negatively however, in fact, just the opposite.

Magnifique isn’t just the name of the album, but a mark of quality. Ratatat’s latest album is seriously magnificent and that’s selling the duo short. Mast and Stroud have outdone themselves this time. Every song has its own distinctive vigor –whether a powerful coating of effects that slather nasty lick after lick or a hypnotic and lulling string of guitar chords, Magnifique offers a whole ton of interesting tunes.

Of Magnifique’s most brilliant tracks are “Abrasive” and “I Will Return.” The former kicks things off with some synths and a catchy drum beat done up in that very familiar Ratatat sound. The band adds an extra layer of guitar and slowly builds the song into a funky jam. There’s something special about the way Ratatat takes what would be an otherwise simplistic melody and turns it into a much more enjoyable, very high energy tune. In some ways, “Abrasive” may best be compared to some sort of dance song for the psychedelically impaired. Meanwhile; our latter contender for album MVP, “I Will Return” takes things in a very different direction. For this track, Ratatat slows down a little and something more sappy kicks in. A mixture of a weepy guitar and backing acoustics turns the song into a ballad worth remembering.

As a whole, Magnifique stands on its own as probably Ratatat’s greatest album to date. Magnifique takes everything there is to love about the duo and amplifies it. This may seem alarming at first, Ratatat can be pretty busy at times –but it works amazingly. The melodies are more danceable, more entrancing, better composed than ever. There’s something truly unique to every song. The effects play out like a surrealist poem –an experiment in electronic debauchery. Every layer of bass, drums, keys, and strings seems to fill out just perfectly. Ratatat hit the ball out of the park.

Fan or not, Magnifique is an absolute must listen. Ratatat is out to give some eargasms with this release. Magnifique leaps between genres –with this particular album you should come prepared for some hefty guitar use. Either way, there’s more than likely something awesome waiting for you in Magnifique. Give the album a shot and be surprised, this is Ratatat at their best.

Rating: 9.0/10

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