! = recommended
* = all-ages
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I appear have a niche market in the TIG universe. My reviews mostly have focused on the electronica genre of the indie world (see my reviews on RJD2 and M83). Have I been typecasted? Or do I do it for the love of the sound? Perhaps both.
It makes sense that I would be the one to discuss the newest from Skidmore College's own Ratatat. Much has changed from the days when they produced their self-titled debut on Mast's PowerBook in Crown Heights. The duet of Ryan Stroud on the guitar and Evan Mast as the synthesizer driver and producer have created a less guitar-driven album in their latest work, LP3. It's got more meat on its bones than their usual spare tracks.
Semi-fresh sound notwithstanding, this Ratatat release still falls under the category of Awesome Background Sound. Case in point: the track "Wildcat" (one of my personal favorites from their last album) was used in a bevy of commercials, movies, and fashion shows, which makes perfect sense. The Ratatat sound is less "look at me" and more introspective: focus on the clothes and the products and the actions, as all will complement the fun "Wildcat."
Like a good wine with a fancy meal, Ratatat is still the king of the soundtrack to our lives. Each song seems suited to a different occasion. The sloshing of the water on "Brulee" evokes images of a beautiful woman bathing or even a summer's romp on a Pacific beach. "Shempi" might be the track that closely resembles Ratatat's known style: Lots of bells and whistles with the synthesizer and hard 80's style guitar licks. It's a catchy little number that will have you on the floor as soon as you hear it. One act plays/video projects could be made based off the album (think "The Wall").
Overall, LP3 is like Ratatat new and improved, like when Lucky Charms adds a new marshmallow: It's still the same cereal, but with a little more color. They still have the guitar mixed with a Nintendo pop sound, but now there are more layers. There's harpsichord! And an orchestra! Oh my!
If you're looking for a soundtrack to make life a little more interesting, then the third time for Ratatat is clearly a charm.