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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Ratatat
LP3
XL Recordings

Rating: 6.8/10 ?


August 4, 2008
Hammering ecstatically on a toy piano until a melody is found and joyfully repeated, it seems that Ratatat's goal is to make us feel like kids again. Except, in this case, those sounds are filtered through computers and synthesizers, a few amplifiers are hauled in, and the New York duo asks us in all seriousness if we are truly ready to rawk. Mike Stroud and Evan Mast have faith in simplicity and repetition, and since the release of their album Classics in 2006 their approach has had a somewhat polarizing effect. Either the simple, care-free nature of their sound felt like getting hit over the head with a wiffleball bat over and over again, or it called to mind Jason Statham in the opening credits of Guy Ritchie's Snatch: almost too cool to boogey.

I have absolutely no problem with stupid and fun music. In my opinion, anyone who can't smile to Len's "Steal My Sunshine" is taking life far too seriously. Yet simple beats have to keep the enthusiasm to be glorious, and LP3 spends too much time noodling and meandering around aimlessly. Rather than being enjoyably repetitive, the album often commits the ultimate party disc foul by being tedious and dull.

Album opener "Shiller" sets the proceedings in motion on the right foot, building slowly and effectively for about two and a half minutes before crashing in with a wave of white noise atop the track's already memorable synth loop. That single moment is Ratatat at their peak - straightforward, unafraid and unstoppable. However, outside of three or four other solid dance jams, the rest of LP3 sounds like a handful of decent ideas spread out over nine tracks, blurring together and leaving the listener feeling like they didn't quite get their money's worth in the end. After the album's forth track "Mirando" fades, Ratatat fails to kick the energy back into top gear for the remainder of the LP, searching in vain for a moment or a hook as epic and blissful as the one given in "Shiller."

There is a very solid EP's worth of material available here. Following the opener, "Falcon Jab" is undeniably catchy, well structured, and memorable; "Mirando" possesses a percussive groove that is virtually irresistible and "Shempi" holds the hallmarks of all the best cheesy Eighties dance classics. Coupled with "Shiller" and a remix or two, this could have been a breezy twenty-minute shot of summer adrenaline; in their present form, scattered amid filler like "Bird-Priest" and "Dura," the songs' impact is significantly lessened.

As presented on LP3, it appears Ratatat's music works best as a fleeting burst rather than a long player. If they want to keep the listener engaged for forty-five minutes they will need to sprinkle their full-length efforts with more concentrated pleasure detonators throughout rather than stocking them all in the album's first half. The best moments on this album, however, leave me with no doubt that Ratatat would be a fantastic live experience. Enjoyed in a communal setting, "Falcon Jab" must sound massive, leaving all the Gen-Xers teary-eyed to remember the days when they didn't care about anything either.

Reviewed by Dave Toropov
Introduced to music in the womb with a pair of headphones on his mother's stomach, Dave Toropov has yet to recover the experience. A writer based in Boston and New York, he has also written for Prefix Magazine and What Was It Anyway, and is the maintainer of the "Middleclass Haunt" blog.

See other reviews by Dave Toropov

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