Ratatat Ratatat

How novel — a band from Brooklyn that isn’t on the post-punk gravy train. Not only that, but Mike "Snake” Stroud and Evan "E*Vax” Mast are trying something kind of different — guitars plus beats, with no vocals to speak of. Sounds simple until you get into their bio, which cites Jay-Z, the Rolling Stones, Timbaland and Beethoven as influences for Ratatat. Inevitable — a mash-up band for the times. And by and large, it manages to work. The duo’s love of hip-hop comes through in the pop-length tunes and clever beats, as on "Lapland” and "Breaking Away,” while opener "17 Years” flirts with IDM’s melodic textures, ultimately ditching it for some good power chords. It’s almost amazing that there are no vocals, since the tunes are structured so precisely that you can almost hear where the big choruses are supposed to go. That cunning can also be Ratatat’s weak spot — every shiny synth-soaked number seems engineered to sound like a single. Still, they’re entertaining and unique — a pretty unassailable combination in this day and age. (XL)