The hype machine works in interesting ways. It can make or break a band even if the wind changes direction. Music critics go from band to band and suck every little ounce of creativity and humanity they had left inside of them like the leeches they are, then they move on to the next wave of hyped bands. Bear in mind, this method of plug and play music listening does come with its own fair share of faults. For example, look out your window. Do you see that kid wearing that T-shirt with his favorite electroclash band emblazed across the front of it? That kid is the problem with the hype machine. It introduces people to more bands than they could ever even think about listening to. Some kids, who aren't able to handle their music well enough, get left behind and never move on. The good thing about the machine's constant movement from band to band is that we rarely, if ever, have to listen to a band for more than two months. Lately, the machine has been pushing the shit out of a few different bands. This latest group of rock and roll saviors doesn't really seem to differ that much from the last. You've got your straight up rock and rollers; The Features, your weird ass folk guy; Devandra Banheart, you've got your stoners; The Secret Machines, and finally, you have your electronic band; Ratatat. I'll give you a minute to digest all of what's cool right now before we try to move on.
You cool now? Good. Let's see, where did we leave off? Ah, yes. Ratatat. Ratatat features the jamming riffs of Mike Stroud (of Dashboard Confessional and Ben Kweller fame), and the pulsing beats of Evan Mast (better known as E*Vax). The two have come together and formed a new path on the XL label which houses other bands like Mull Historical Society. Ratatat, Ratatat's first release, seems to let Mast and Stroud do whatever the fuck they want. Both of these guys have had more than their fair share of rock and roll experience in other bands. Mast does all the electronic shit (keyboards, drums machines, etc...), while Stroud wields his mighty axe to bring out the rock and roll. There aren't any vocals to get in the way here, just pure instrumentation. Bleeps and bloops abound while kind of funky beats dance around like they're just here to party. But this party kind of sucks.
Stroud and Mast let their true slacker form shine out on this release as they slowly move from the beginning of each song to the end. And that's basically it. There's the occasional shredding of the guitar and there's some outright jams on the drum machine, but nothing really stands out. The two slackers are pretty spot on with each other, though. I'll give them that one.
This CD is barely above average. Sure, these guys can jam with the rest of them, but we've heard it all before. Everything on Ratatat is decisively simple. There are no complex melodies or vocal harmonies to make the listener think here. Why not just put on the new RJD2 and an old Jimi Hendrix record and play them together? It'd sound the same. But these guys are cool right now. So, by all means, if you want to look cool and possibly get your girlfriend to be a tad more risqu' in bed because she thinks you're so fuckin' cool, then by all means, buy Ratatat. However, if you're fine with not shoving how cool you are into people's faces, then just keep drinking your boba tea and pay no attention to these two guys. Let them get lost in the next wave of hype.
5.1 / 10
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