ratatatatThere is a tendency when talking about instrumental music to assume it's missing something. Without a human voice to anchor a song, we feel it should be a soundtrack for a movie or, even more sinister, a commercial.

Ratatat disagree. The duo passionately argues for the completeness of instrumentals with an epic combination of boom-bap drum machines, yo-ed out synths and hair metal guitar. And it is music to dance to. Their melodic interplay begs you to get on the dance floor. It's sort of like getting hit on by a skeazy, but pure-hearted, nintendo.

They don't totally escape the feeling that a product could be placed at anytime, though. (Pitchfork once called them the “musical equivalent of Urban Outfitters.” Ouch.) Sometimes the intertwining guitar and synth lines get excruciatingly epic, too inhuman and arrogant to really connect to: You know those Mac commercials where the physical manifestation of Macs is trying to be more “real” than the square P.C, but ironically the P.C.'s bluster and hubris make him seem more truly human than his shaplessly young, ice-hearted tormentor? Sometimes Ratatat make me feel this way and then I have to take a shower.

But to Ratatat's credit, this occurs because they are at least trying something new every album (that ubiquitous guitar tone aside). They pull off Iranian folk drum patterns on an 808. They make a convincing argument for the Daft Punk-ization of salsa music. When you are throwing this much shit against the wall some of it is going to stay shit. And who knows, maybe some of it sounds like it should be in an advertisement because this could be some excellent Warholian circle jerk.

Plus, the highs are worth it. When the synth and guitar lines meld and then slip into dissonance it's perfect—and words would only muddle the joy of that intimate moment.

Ratatat play March 29 at the Showbox SoDo.

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/ratatatmusic
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