Ratatat - LP3
Sel Bulut 21/07/2008
Ratatat have always made music which just so happens to be electronic, working outside of the conventions of electro - club bangers were occasional and though they did make remixes, these were slower tempo hip hop efforts rather than reworkings of whatever was popular on dancefloors of the time. Sweeping guitars (that were actual guitars rather than the synthesised lot) and an ear for perfectionist production led Ratatat to form a sound suited to home-listening rather than at a club, and LP3 takes this approach even further, rather taking the easy route of heading in a more mainstream direction.
Indeed, opener 'Shiller' lacks a single beat, starting mysterious and ambient (if a little X-Filesy) and building to reveal an anthemic glam rock guitar riff, far removed from the expected electro of acts like Digitalism or Does It Offend You, Yeah? and showing that an opening slot for Daft Punk certainly hasn't rubbed off on them. This blistering opening is followed by 'Falcon Jab', a track that takes a more conventional distorted hook but warps it with an overpowering sense of the classical.
Tracks like 'Mumtaz Khan' and the organ-based 'Shempi' utilise world influences and beats with aplomb, and are great displays of what Ratatat are capable of, whilst 'Flynn' is a fantastic trip-hop affair that just shows that the duo seem to know exactly what they're doing.
But this isn't to say the whole album keeps this momentum going, as for all the grandiose production and broad array of influences, LP3 just isn't as exciting as it could be. Whilst the rest of the album goes through a musical palette ranging from psychedelia to fairground rides, it's all technically very polished but never too interesting, leaving only fleeting moments of “that's pretty cool” rather than awe-struck wonder, whilst the rest of it sinks into the background. Nothing is particularly bad but nothing seems truly fantastic, and LP3 ends up reeking of unfulfilled potential.
It's easy to admire the musicianship of Ratatat but ultimately there's not much else to do when you listen to LP3, as with no groove, few hooks and no vocals to grab you, it ends up being not a lot more than background music. Decent background music, admittedly, but background music nonetheless.