Ratatat is two guys in New York City, one who plays guitar, the other a synthesizer-bass-producer polymath. It’s hard to know exactly what to call their stuff. It’s got programmed dance beats like DJ music, but also guitar, strings, keyboards, and songs that actually sound like songs and not endless loops.
One thing Ratatat has done consistently over four records — the latest creatively titled LP4 — is keep vocals out. If you ask me, guest vocals are the death of DJ music. I can barely listen to the last few Chemical Brothers albums for that reason. I like beats; I don’t like screamy divas.
Incidentally, Ratatat did release two absolutely epic remix albums, wherein they put the vocals from popular rap tracks over their own production. (I’m not sure if you can legally buy them, but they’re floating around the tubes if you search.) Those are two of my favorite hip-hop albums of all time. But I’m glad they keep their own albums pure.
The lack of vocals, along with the weird psychedelic dance trance thing, does make Ratatat a love it or hate it kind of thing, though. If you like this kick-ass new song, “Drugs,” you’ll like all the rest. If not, well, your booty must be dead on the inside.
Get Grist in your inbox