- Audio CD (7 July 2008)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: XL
- ASIN: B0019EI0EY
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 182,847 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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With Thom Yorke as their label bedfellow, it is no surprise that electronic duo Ratatat tread a particularly experimental musical path. The third studio album from New Yorkers, Mike Stroud and Evan Mast, is awash with distortion-drenched melodies, punctuated by jittery clips, claps and clacks. Initially the off-kilter musical mayhem of LP3 is difficult to navigate, but with subsequent listens, Ratatat's unusual take on electronic-infused rock is intensely beautiful.
Mixing rock with electronica has been done to death in recent years, but Ratatat avoid sounding stale. Their previous two albums - 2004's self-titled debut and Classics in 2006 - expertly combined scuzzy guitar with twitchy electronics. While LP3 maintains the duo's confrontational yet simultaneously vulnerable trademark sound, it is less reliant on synth-laden guitar, instead making full use Mellotrons, wurlitzers and a broad selection of electronic keyboards.
The album starts in a pensive vein and becomes increasingly expansive. The unsettling echoey undertones of new single, Shiller, make it the perfect opening to an album fuelled by enticing melody lines. Falcon Jab is confident and gutsy, exploiting a myriad of effects including a Daft Punk-inspired woozy vocal, to great effect, while the frenetic, quirky Gipsy Threat could be the soundtrack to a cartoon chase.
Cultural references are wide. The cosmic calypso drive of Mirando, reggae vibe of Flynn and the oriental melody that gives Mi Viejo its emotional appeal, help to make LP3 a broad-minded record. Meanwhile, memorable melodies abound. Tracks like Shempi with their pop heavy hooks add to the album's accessibility.
Overall, there is a deftness of touch that bonds each stuttery, juddering track into a single, engrossing whole. This is no rag-bag of unconnected ideas. LP3 is a continuation of what these guys do so well - wuzzy atmospheric electronics with the clout of good old rock. Long may it continue. --Gemma Padley
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Top Customer Reviews
The striking thing about 'LP3''s songs is that they're all made for adverts or opening sequences of films. Audi, Orange Universal, you name it, will all be dialling Ratatat's "important people" at XL when their ears first stumble across this record. But this classification of calling the songs advert music is anything but a dismissal. Imagine a cinematic beauty being accompanied by the glorious record opener 'Shiller' - it'd be somewhat breathtaking. Instead of letting the beauty of the album's finer moments ruin themselves when you discover them in a BMW advert, allow them to be the background to your day-to-day life. The acoustic-led darling 'Mi Vjejo', with its obvious Spanish influence, can be your early morning and the most danceable number, 'Shempi' can be your night out. Let your days be dominated by 'LP3' blasting through your portable player's headphones - you may suffer from the odd side effect of social deprivation but it'll be more than worth it.
'LP3' is meant to be played on repeat, endlessly. You never tire of the shimmering, uplifting sounds that are produced - each number varying in depth and experimentation, there's constantly a new layer of each song to be discovered on each passing listen. And that's how the multi-instrumentalist stance the two-piece have taken has benefited them.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
That's pretty high praise.
Ratatat keeps up the good work with this album. I can't really say whether LP3 is better or worse than Wildcat or Classics, since Ratatat's music really defies that kind of thinking. Asking whether a particular Ratatat song is better than another song is like asking whether this lemonade is better than that tree; they are unique items with unique characteristics, and while some characteristics might objectively be viewed as making a positive or negative contribution, they can really only be viewed as parts of a broader soundscape. Each song contributes *richness* in different ways, like the layers of cake, and the total is greater than the sum of parts.
What I can say, definitively, is that a world with 14 more Ratatat tracks is better in every way than a world with fewer Ratatat tracks.
I rated this album 4-stars for only one reason: a few of the tracks use non-musical sounds as part of the basic rhythm (splashing water or scratching guitar strings, for example), and I feel like a few of these choices were distracting and did not fit with the whole composition.
Edit added: I was composing a playlist recently and realized why Ratatat is so important to me. As I dropped ELO's *Yours Truly 2095* and a track by Daft Punk into the same playlist, I got to thinking that in decades of musical development, way too many things have stayed the same. Honestly, you could drop early-80s ELO into a club today and it would sound perfectly at home. You could send My Chemical Romance back in time, and they could do a double-header show with Cheap Trick and nobody would think it sounded strange. Eric Burdon of The Animals could sing right along with Rob Thomas and you'd never think that Mr. Thomas was the result of 40 more years of musical evolution. Don McLean and Beck could mix a new word salad, and the common thread would be unmistakable.
That's why Ratatat is so important. It's unapologetically, unmistakably *new*, and breaks ground in musical sound. We need more of it.
Glad to see there's still actual music being made by bands that don't change for the mainstream.
Buy it, take the time to relax and enjoy.
So overall, as weird as it is, I can't recommend it enough.
Unless you've listened to another ratatat album right before, then your ears may hurt.
If my hearing is gone when I'm old because of this, I think that's ok. I'll have heard enough by then