Classics

Studio Album by released in 2006

Classics review

Classics is the development of Ratatat’s musical ideas

Ratatat has gained attention of electronic and indie music community due to their self-titled first born album released in spring 2004. Мulti-instrumentalist/programmer Evan Mast and guitarist Mike Stroud has joined their efforts to work out a musical blend of synthesized sounds and drums with live guitars. Classics, the second album of this New York duo, is a logical sequel of the ideas they have offered to the audience two years ago. Ratatat is often compared with the Chicago-based instrumental outfit Tortoise who got most of the attention for their radical departure from the rock norm — losing the vocalist in favor of instrumental compositions that mixed and matched traditional bass, guitar, drum rock with electronics. But its not worth confusing these bands, it is impossible to put an equals sign between them. Ratatat is a modern understanding and development of instrumental music. The band strives to optimistic and easy to get sounding while they keep on experimenting with matching different musical styles.

Ratatat expands stylistic boarders

On Classics the musicians try to expand the palette of styles. They don’t choose directly which of historically developed ways they should use, they just combine it all into hooky songs that segue from clickety-clack drum ’n’ bass breakbeating to acoustic-guitar arpeggios, or from hip-hopped beatings to almost metallic guitar riffery, with an ambient breakdown and a harpsichord refrain thrown in. And that’s just the first two tracks. Somehow they managed to find room for very different musical branches, from old school heavy metal of 80’s combined with hip-hop to Beatles harmonies of Rubber Soul and Mystery Tour period and all this stands Lex on the basis of indie rock. It may look terrifying on paper but it’s worth paying attention. It has nothing in common with chaotic, mind depraving experiments of Fantomas. On the contrary this is nice and mellow indie dance music. The songs are full of majestic refrains and riffs, the song structures are sometimes really simple (like in such tracks as Lex or Wildcat). You could play this record for your friends at a small party for them to dance a little. But still, sometimes it requires a few close listens to appreciate the novelty that the album carries.

Classics demands attention

For all the technology they bring to the table, Ratatat is soulful and savvy, putting everything in its right place and locking the listener in. The self-titled debut’s boyish charm has matured and refined, Classics is more varied in texture and tempo and tone than its predecessor. A lot of time and efforts has been paid by musicians to enrich this record with small, implicit moments that take the irreplaceable part both in musical and sensual design of the album and that are so pleasant to discover. Classics is a record that demands a bit of attention, something to assure it that you hear each phrase, each contradiction, each sound as it enters and leaves. Something to assure it that you know the spaces in which little happens are as important as those that are full. There are no solos here: just the comings and goings of thoughts and feelings and sounds, and though there is a circularity to the album, it's not boring; rather it just allows time for everything that Ratatat are trying to convey to manifest itself fully.