Ratatat Magnifique

Ratatat Magnifique
8
Born from studio sessions in which they had access to "a million different instruments" for the first time, Ratatat's LP3 and LP4 took their six-string electro-hop sounds to ambitious new places, with everything from a live string quartet to talkboxes. Such ambition may have taken it out of Mike Stroud and Evan Mast, who took the better part of four years to write and record Magnifique. The time away has certainly served the duo well, though, as they hit all the right notes with a less-is-more approach to composition on their fifth studio record.
 
Dialling back the sonic detail has left Stroud's guitar work at the forefront of the record, where he crafts a wealth of memorable melodies. While his smooth, Brian May-esque tone is highlighted by the duelling leads of "Rome," the harmony-filled "Abrasive" and the dance floor-oriented "Nightclub Amnesia," these moments of electric guitar grandeur are nicely juxtaposed with breezy pedal steel in the short, sweet moments of "Drift," "Supreme" and the record's title track. This melodic emphasis, combined with a clearer compositional vision, is a welcome return to the style that made their earlier work so captivating. (XL)