Tit for (Rata)Tat
The history of Ratatat resembles that of The Postal Service: a duo of electronica and indie-rock geniuses who don’t have enough time to properly form a side project yet somehow manage to produce material of legendary status. While not as renowned or catchy as TPS, Ratatat rise above other comparisons or rivalries to establish themselves as something more than a side gig. LP3 is Ratatat’s declaration of existence, a bold statement that ultimately defines the style of one of independent music’s most precious producers.
For an instrumental album, LP3 has a definitive voice comprised of multilayered production, lo-fi bliss, and DIY philosophy. It’s clearly heard on notable tracks “Black Heroes” and the slow-building opener “Shiller,” which finally delivers shortly past the midpoint mark.
What’s best about the New Yorkers’ latest is the welcome addition of backing percussions and live drums. Though sometimes hidden under layers of robot-inspired noise, as in “Falcon Jab,” the subtle rhythms also lead into guitarist Mike Stroud’s grandiose solos, such as in the Spanish guitar-influenced “Mi Viejo.” It marks the pair’s introduction of the acoustic guitar for the first time in their discography and takes listeners on an opulent trip across South American pueblos. Multi-instrumentalist/programmer Evan Mast justifies his Ratatat role with dizzying bleeps on “Mirando” and complex production on “Shempi,” a track that resounds with more instruments and programming than the entire album combined.
Ratatat may stand on the shoulders of giants. LP3 shows that they do so without recycling sounds of their peers or of themselves.