New York duo Ratatat release their fourth studio album, appropriately titled LP4, containing twelve tracks of the dancey synth and guitar stylings they’ve been honing for the last decade. The addition of a live string section in the studio yields a wildly engaging record in a very original fashion. Although it’s only been two years since the release of their last album, LP3, the boys have been hard at work in between their intense live performances and slaving over music boards in the studio to bring you this fine collection of songs.
To a low growing drone that builds into a catchy dub-step styled beat, we are introduced to LP4 on “Blair.” This builds into a climax, then cuts to horns, guitar, and organs only to build once more. A man speaking German starts off the next track, “Drugs,” leading into piano play that turns into a very house-y synth and distorted guitar in a catchy instrumental groove. “Bob Ghandi” features an eclectic variety of acoustic guitar, keyboard play, bass kicks, and… is that a bango and maraca?
The entire album is put together very well and it’s immediately apparent that Mike Stroud and Evan Mast spend a lot of time perfecting each track. There is a banjo and foot stomping in the song “Barefeet,” giving the image of a southern hoedown with the addition of a drum machine and synth. The track “Alps” closes out the record with swirling beats that fade in and out while a piano plays a jazzy little melody, then change into a synth and drum oriented number, then back to the piano.
Whatever your taste in music, LP4 will provide. The album has everything a music lover could hope for including pumping club bangers, mellow downtempo numbers, and clever piano and synth play. The use of tribal drums, strings, and maracas is done well, giving LP4 a splash of international flavor. There are noticeably less electronics on this album and the guys seem more interested in reaching out to try something new, which works well for them. There was a lot of room here for failure from overuse of some of the rifts they employed, but Ratatat managed to find the perfect middle ground groove.