ALBUM REVIEW: Ratatat – Magnifique

Overwhelming, pulsing and intertwining, Ratatat definitely know how to weave their sounds to created a smorgasbord of melodies for our ears to feast on. Filled with both a good sum of grit and a large number of smooth riffs the album Magnifique definitely has a variety of tracks to appeal to those across the board.

The first thing we hear from the album is the one minute long intro which starts us off on a warped adventure, akin to something you might hear on an Emilie Autumn track. The intro track feels like someone fiddling on the tuning of an old TV set, having to sift through a bunch of white noise and grey screen before finding the elegance of a ballroom dance. Weird and wonderful, it seems to be the perfect starter to the album.

Then slipping a little further into wonderland we get Cream on Chrome, layered with funk, gravel and contagious beat, it’s paramount that you bop a little when experiencing this track. It’s a track that inspires the kind of listening where you need to lean forward and squint a little in concentration to hear all the intricacies, but if you make the effort, it’s definitely worth it. Riddled with choppy riffs and distortion in the clarity of notes it seems to be a few steps away from a glorified mess, just erring on the side of genius.

Something that is quite remarkable about the album, is that to get an understanding of the kind of vibe Ratatat seemed to be going for, you only need to read the track list. Each title seems to generally hit the nail on the head in terms of the individuality they bring to the album. Abrasive seems to have a coarse-grained sandiness in the constant underlay which gives it an almost ‘Super Mario soundtrack on steroids’ energy. The title track Magnifique has an ethereal atmosphere to it, starting off all slow and light, almost comparable to Explosions in the Sky for pockets of time. And Pricks of Brightness certainly is bright and synthy with an upbeat constant, especially in comparison to it’s follow track Nightclub Amnesia.

Ratatat seem to be straddling the crossroads between electronic, instrumental, rock and pop which a haughty elegance. This record being an example of all those genres woven together with purpose. The lack of vocals mean nothing in terms of the growth of each track, as they all seem to swell and fill the room without words to carry them through. Magnifique is a tapestry of fine woven ideas, but it definitely requires a close look to make out a picture. If you lose concentration throughout the record, it might be a bit difficult to get back in, but buckle in for the ride and you’re sure to enjoy the experience.

Purchase Magnifique here.


Top Tracks: “Cream on Chrome”, “Magnifique”, “Pricks of Brightness”, “Nightclub Amnesia”

Rating: 4stars

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