Before I ever heard them, I used to think Ratatat was just another band making it by on a series of bleeps and bloops. I know now that I was an idiot. When I finally gave the duo’s self-titled debut a chance, I found myself sold on their sound about a minute into the track “El Pico,” and the album went on to heavily soundtracked my 2004.

A new album from Ratatat after a five-year break calls for some serious celebration and celebrate we did at Sonos Studio this week when the venue hosted an intimate performance with the elusive pair in promotion of their latest album, Magnifique, which was released just last month. I found myself literally sweating the wait out as body temps in the venue rose due to a broken air conditioner, but chilled Golden Road beer consoled the crowd as we stood in anticipation of the Brooklyn-based duo’s performance.

Photos by Erik Voake

After a brief interview, dimmed lights gave a sense of cooling temperature and what I thought was the largest vaporizer smoke cloud I’d ever seen turned out to be a fog machine, the haze of which temporarily masked the musicians, contributing to their mysterious stage presence. With just enough time for a six-song set, the band was in no way bound to their new album, and though “Cream on Chrome” was a crowd favorite, classics from Classics delivered welcome waves of nostalgia, and it all culminated with a finale of Ratatat’s oldest song of the set, “Seventeen Years.”


Ratatat may be a band of few words, but the two leave nothing to be desired visually or musically from their performances. Their set wasn’t limited to the guitars, keys, pedals, mixers, or monitors; explosions of light burst onto the backdrop and also from it. Lasers shot over the audience, pulsing to the beat and highlighting the corresponding guitar solos, bass drops, and synthesizer breakdowns. While my loyalty may have been tested by the lack of ventilation, the duo was well worth the wait and the wash of laundry to be done.


Maqnifique was  released on July 17th via XL Recordings. For more info on the band, visit their website.