Ratatat Classics

Mike Stroud and Evan "E*vax” Mast aren’t your usual breed of musician. Their flexibility is one of boundless proportions, as evidenced by their most impressive hip-hop mix-tape, their remix work for the likes of the Knife, Shout Out Louds and Dizzee Rascal, as well as the fact that Stroud has toured as a guitarist with emo heavyweight Dashboard Confessional. As Ratatat, they use their combined talents and varied background in threading together pulsating instrumentals that are as baffling genre-wise as the tomato’s place in the fruit family. Classics follows up their celebrated 2004 eponymous debut with little progression — the Brooklyn duo still enjoy slathering their melody-laden riffage over top of their electronically programmed arrangements. As rooted in rock and electronic as Classics is, there is also a distinct love for hip-hop, which they flash in the beats they lay down on "Kennedy” and "Lex,” which sounds like it could back up anyone who’s graced a volume of Run the Road. In contrast, single "Wildcat” is made of the wacky house principles that someone like Thomas Bangalter utilises, and to further their bewildering habits, the lazy rhythm and gliding guitar of "Tropicana” sounds as if a Sgt. Pepper outtake was discovered and remixed for a new generation. Though there’s nothing quite as dance floor-hungry as "Seventeen Years” from their debut, with Classics Ratatat keep on keeping on, which with their motley, inventive minds is satisfying enough for any fan. (XL)