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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Review

    With a home base of Brooklyn, a logo that looks like it was designed by Jem and the Holograms and professional connections to Ben Kweller and Interpol, these guys are probably hipster darlings. That’s a shame, because there’s a delicate self-consciousness to LP3 that would be impossible to notice when lumped in with the kind of gaudy sleaze-disco you’d hear while thumbing through racks of lamé tube tops at American Apparel.

    It wasn’t too long ago, though, that Ratatat was putting out electronica full of sass and pervy guitar wails songs like “”Wildcat,”” “”Seventeen Years”” and “”Lex,”” which found themselves right at home in numerous commercials and on the catwalks of Chanel and Louis Vuitton. This was the sound that won the band its current fans, and for that reason LP3 may be something of a disappointment to those hoping for lots of molten synths and bravado.

    This is anything but a condemnation of the band’s brand-new album, however.

    A midsummer release was just right for this album, whose fresh sounds are like a tall glass of iced tea for the ears. Simultaneously more sparkly and more organic, LP3’s sound is both gentle and crisp, somewhere in between the blippy lounge of Stereolab and the experimental noise of Mouse on Mars (with whom Ratatat has toured). Melty guitar riffs that sound like Weezer being played on a Super Nintendo will be familiar to old fans, while harpsichord flourishes, like those on “”Shiller”” and “”Dura,”” evoke the cutesy instrumental interludes composed by Mark Mothersbaugh for Wes Anderson’s films – and are an indispensable frill that lends the entire album a delightful, fluttery brightness. In all honesty, LP3, and Ratatat in general, could actually do with a bit less of the Weezer-via-Nintendo stuff – the Napoleon Dynamiteness of it gets a little trying after a couple songs. (Of course, that’s probably exactly why you ironic T-shirt-wearing college kids will want to listen to this while ironically playing The Legend of Zelda in your dorm rooms.)

    The sound of this album has much in common with a social subset Radar magazine has dubbed the “”Tweemo,”” a Nico-listening, ballet flat-wearing sort who are “”more likely to bring back the tandem bicycle than to ‘fuck da police!’ “” Drifting somewhere between innocent and blasé, LP3 seems like just the thing for a Tweemo in search of tunes. Little doodles of sound, like the bubbly organ on “”Bird-Priest,”” keep the album from sounding too hip, too remote, too cool for the chic-yet-awkward among us. It’s a refreshingly accessible sound that should appeal equally to Optimist Club devotees and Max Fischer wannabes. (When you get right down to it, is there really much of a difference anyway?)

    Ratatat’s music isn’t really rock, but the instruments the band uses make one hesitant to label it electronica. Really, the tracks on LP3 aren’t much like anything else out there except for the aforementioned, equally unclassifiable German duo Mouse on Mars – but for that very reason, LP3 is an album that would fit well with practically any music collection. Toeing the line between precious and pretentious, this album ultimately ends up being too damn charming for criticism.

    – Alyson Hill

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