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Listening

Ratatat, Ratatat

A two-man dueling-guitar and beats instrumental combo, Mike Stroud and Evan Mast (who’s also known and loved as electronic percussion wunderkind E*Vax), have finally released their long-lusted-after debut album. And their technical brilliance, sense of bravado, and solid songwriting skills will ensure their name is heard wide and far: Ratatat.

The songs, usually a simple-sounding combination of guitar, effects, and electronic beats, develop in totally new and interesting musical ways, beginning in one context and ending in another entirely. They build, they change so soothingly, so imperceptibly, lulling you into forgetting what’s going on, that detailed analysis of their music proves difficult.

In the guitar sound and style, much Frippery abounds, laid both in driving grooves across the inescapable electro rhythms and in churning classical melodies, all of it often calling to mind a drastically updated and less-noodle-y No Pussyfooting – and one with greater breadth and song direction. The musical interplay between the two members is a strong force throughout each song; their pure collaboration always at the forefront, always exhibiting their innate ability to double up in truly compelling arrangements, seemingly on the fly.

Now alone in a style of music entirely their own, they’ve created the first masterpiece in their new universe.

biopic

Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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