Ratatat: Seventeen Years
When I first watched Ratatat live, they opened for Interpol in a small Seattle club. Taking the stage before a band like Interpol is not the easiest of tasks; essentially, as the opening band, you're there to postpone the main band coming on and therefore fuel people to drink more and forget that they've been standing in a sweaty club for nearly 3 hours waiting to see a band play for one hour. The ratio of waiting to watching is usually 3 – 1, which makes it ever more difficult for people to give a shit about the opening band. Ratatat was a little different, in that they treated their opening slot like they were headlining. Hell, they even had a background screen and filled it with, low quality but ever-interesting images, lines, and as I remember, they showed their name about 50 times at least. That said, I knew that when I finally got to hear Seventeen Years, I knew I would be pleasantly surprised and I was.
The CD lingers between latenight-laptop noodling and a shy, but ever-present enjoyment of late 70s fusion rock in the form of T-Rex. What sets Stroud apart from other artists is that he has no choice but to flaunt the repetitive drum beats, since he doesn't have a drummer. In a way its better this way, rather than to have someone play the drums. Its cheaper too. My theory holds true here again: that most albums tend to start out rocking, dip in the middle, and then end strong. 'Cherry' is a great closer and 'Germany to Germany' had my ears perked when I first read the name; hearing it only made it better.
If I have any Madame Cleo in me, Ratatat will enjoy indie status for a little while, slowly fade into the unknown, clutching their Imacs the whole way and fade out unappreciated by a music culture too stupid to realize a kick ass rock record when it socks them in the nose.