Ratatat: Magnifique

review ratatat x1 cong

This is definitely a grower; one play is not enough to start to appreciate its charms, and for several plays we were planning to dismiss it as a little bit annoying (a feature of their earlier work, apparently).
As a rough guide, it’s quirky electronic dance/pop that sounds like it should be on French label Ed Banger. Some bits are crisp and precise and reminded us of Digitalism but there are lots of flowery bits that hark back to Justice’s flawed Audio, Video, Disco. Daft Punk are also a comparison.
We found Justice’s melodramatic A,V,D (Queen-like in its ostentation) just too much to listen to, and the first few plays of this saw it coming over equally showy. The Hawaiian strumming and Brian May-style rock guitar were the worst. But it grows.
It opens with a QOTSA style radio being tuned before Intro, which is chamber music on a synth, with Queen-style guitar. Sigh.
But track two Cream Chrome is good: tight electronic beat, Nile Rogers strumming and a good bass line, before some proper power chords. So far, so Digitalism.
The title track starts off with soulful strings and plaintive piano and carries on being pleasant despite Brian May meets Mike Oldfield guitar; there’s something of Air about it, too.
Abrasive is crisp and Daft Punk while Drift is one of several tracks that sound Hawaiian (though when the Review Corner went to Hawaii, the first music we actually heard was One Direction on the taxi radio). That grows, too.
The trouble is, we forced ourselves to listen to appreciate this album’s charms, which most people won’t. We suspect there’s also an element of the Stockholm syndrome, where hostages get to feel positive about their captors. The same thing applies when you listen to a CD over and over; it eventually wears you down. Overall: it has its moments but approach with care.

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