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Ratatat

Haters and even casual fans may find Ratatat a bit one-note, seeing how the New York duo mostly wields zippy guitar riffs and bubbly synths in the service of breezy, instrumental electro-pop. But there's always enough vivid color lingering around the edges to draw us in upon closer inspection. Between Ratatat's self-titled 2004 debut and the great fun of 2006's Classics, there have been nods to everything from Mark Mothersbaugh's Wes Anderson soundtrack work to prime '80s hair metal and '60s psych-pop. Last year's LP3 broadened Ratatat's horizons by looking to world music, including tropicalia and calypso. The too-short "Flynn" flirts with woozy steel drums, "Brulee" has a wonderfully laid-back dub vibe, and "Mi Viejo" smuggles in just enough rustic twang to justify its title. Instrumental indie music is often so serious — from Mogwai's telegraphed climaxes to Tortoise's scholarly jazz worship — that it's nice to hear Ratatat get so far with ear-tickling quirks and the occasional roar of an oversized feline.

 
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