[one_half last=”no”]
Karin Park - Apocalypse Pop

NBHAP Rating: 4,3/5


[one_half last=”yes”]RATATAT

Release-Date: 17.07.2015
Label: Because Music/ Warner Music

01. Intro
02. Cream On Chrome
03. Magnifique
04. Abrasive
05. Countach
06. Drift
07. Pricks Of Brightness
08. Nightclub Amnesia
09. Cold Fingers
10. Supreme
11. Rome
12. Primetime
13. I Will Return
14. Outro






If you happen to have any interest in electronic music, you’re probably familiar with RATATAT. The New York duo, guitarist Mike Stroud and production/tech wizard Evan Mast, have firmly established themselves as major figures within the scene across four albums, creating a guitar plus beats template that the likes of DARKSIDE would later draw inspiration from. Their new album, Magnifique, was hammered out over four years of intense studio work, and it’s time to see if the time and effort invested achieves the desired results.

This is an album that feels like an immersion, sinking into RATATAT’s headspace as they power through various different musical settings with ease. Lead single Cream On Chrome is slick and smooth, mixing flickering beats with chunky guitar riffs. The tempo then switches dramatically for Magnifique, a track that feels like floating, drifting slowly and dreamily along. Nightclub Amnesia is loaded with grinding electronics, vaguely reminiscent of Ed Banger acts like JUSTICE and SEBASTIAN. It’s epic in scale, from the soaring synths to the little rattling drum roll that builds up the tension before the crashing groove pops back into the mix. Supreme is beautifully graceful and elegant, the RATATAT take on a slow-dance song. And I Will Return closes the album (excluding the outro) with a blurry, wistful take on the classic RATATAT sound.

Photo by Asger Carlson

Photo by Asger Carlson


Magnifique is an album where RATATAT restlessly bounce through genres and styles, settling momentarily on one before just as quickly spinning onto the next. The album artwork features a collage of faces. These faces were drawn by the band and stuck up on the wall of the studio where they were writing to redecorate what the duo described as a ‘hideous’ kitchen. And in many ways, the music represents a collage of genres, a patching-together of several to make a cohesive whole.

There are generally two trajectories that bands take as they move further into their careers. Some repeat the same formula that gained them their initial success to ever-diminishing returns, which eventually leads to a breakup. Others progress and grow and add new elements and increase their ability levels. RATATAT are an example of the second path. Magnifique is an album made by a band with an excellent knowledge of what it wants to do and how to carry that plan out. It shows a band comfortable and confident in their abilities, able to make an album that might have been beyond them before. What makes the album work is RATATAT’s ability to effortlessly flicker between tempo and textures. So the bouncy, cloudy fairground sound of Drift switches seamlessly into the 8-bit synth and jittery guitars of Pricks of Brightness, avoiding any clunkiness or awkwardness in the transition. Instead of running out of ideas, RATATAT have advanced and perfected their sound. Magnifique is fourteen tracks long, an ambitious undertaking, but the time the band have put into the album has paid off. It’s a high-quality, diverse collection of songs from a band hitting top form.

RATATAT sound just as fresh as ever on their fifth outing Magnifique, blending together beats, synths and guitars to make a high-octane, sugary genre collage. A compelling album that retains the band’s signature sound while also exploring new territory.