The Red Alert
The Red Alert




Record Review by Angel M. Baker


To sing the praises of LP4 in a word would be devastatingly futile. The words for this record are four in number and end with exclamation points and ellipses and wingdings and the words run off the page and hitchhike to a secret camp in the hills and take peyote in the nude. Eff me, this record is sickness personified.


We were slayed by the eponymous Ratatat. We were murdered by Classics. We died for LP3. And now we live and breath and die again for the extensively layered, classically baroque, and masterfully cryptic LP4, a 12-song record that is so full of that juicy complicated syntax that made us wake up to Ratatat from the get. And it brings oh so much more.


Evan Mast and Mike Stroud solidify their places in the ranks of multi-instrumental artists that don’t just play guitar, strings, harpsichord, keys, synth, and a whole other host of technology we can’t even wrap our minds around, they master these tools with a legendary grasp of the history of music. Making the mash-up this appealing is a testament to Mast and Stroud’s true composing chops. This writer has given lumps to many a musician for f*cking up cross-musical-polination but no lumps will be doled here. LP4 schools us in the art of homage and it breathes new life into Ratatat’s prophetic baroque dance rock. (Seriously, when was the last time, if ever, you thought of baroque dance rock in the same sentence?)  


Of the 12 incendiary cuts, a blue ribbon is hard to choose but the following are highlights: “Drugs;” We Can’t Be Stopped;” and “Alps.” 


“Drugs,” like the name suggests, is addictive. This is when you know LP4 is no joke. Though the record is comprised mostly of extras from LP3 (extra studio time lead to extra tracks), nothing about this or the other 11 feel superfluous. The layers on “Drugs” just keep going and going. There’s a deliberate amalgamation of instruments that give math rockers a run but the complexity doesn’t stop us from getting it the way some of the less melodic tracks (e.g. “Neckbrace”) might.


“We Can’t Be Stopped” is a beautiful, sweeping percussionless track that makes us wait and wait and builds up to the dancey and super air-guitar inspiring “Bob Ghandi” as a glowing example of stellar track placement. Ratatat pays attention to the story of the record and keeps the flows at a going pace.


“Alps” rounds out the record with a fantasy inspired slower jam and some heavy fuzzy guitar and a brilliant harpsichord overlay that shouldn’t but does work.


Really, though, all this writer wants to say is, “Ratatat.” Just Ratatat.


More by this writer:

Wolf Parade - Live - July 31, 2010

Stereo Total - Baby Ouh!

Venice is Sinking - Sand & Lines

The Morning Benders - Big Echo