To paraphrase the Bard, it’s remarkable what’s in a name sometimes. If you’re seeking proof of this fact, you need look no further than that terrible twosome of Brooklyn instrumental rockers now known as Ratatat. Guitarist Evan Mast and synth master Mike Stroud started playing together as Cherry in 2001. Then, for a few years, nothing much happened.
Fade in to 2004: The boys are just about to head out on tour with Interpol and release their debut full length on XL Recordings, when they decide to change their handle from Cherry to Ratatat. And then the spit hits the fan. The tour goes great and their brand spanking new self-titled album is a hit, a palpable hit, paving the way for a critically acclaimed collection of the band’s remixes of tunes by Kanye West, Missy Elliot, Jay-Z and others. Meanwhile, their burgeoning popularity finds them on the road more and more, relentlessly traveling North America and Europe with the Killers, Mouse on Mars, and Franz Ferdinand, just to name a few.
Following their breakneck rise and a year on the road, Stroud and Mast returned to the studio (more accurately the home of a mutual friend in upstate New York) to pound out a second full length, the exceptionally humble and aptly titled Classics. Released this past August, Classics is just what any band hopes for out of their sophomore effort—an album that picks up where their first release left off and shows the growth and polish of a talented pair of musicians finding their sweet spot. Building on their dance worthy, beat driven mixture of guitar and synth, Classics finds the duo incorporating a broader range of sounds than their debut, working sleigh bells, slide guitar and super cool cello work into a one of a kind offering.
The good times just keep rolling along for Stroud and Mast, who in October played the first ever concert at New York City’s venerable Guggenheim Art Museum to finish off the first North American leg of their headlining world tour behind Classics. Barely taking a moment to breathe, Stroud and Mast invaded Japan a la giant rubber monsters, playing a number of shows with Mogwai before finishing off their domination of the Pacific with dates in Australia and New Zealand before their return to the States for a West Coast tour that brings them to Western’s Multipurpose Room on December 1, playing a benefit for World AIDS Day, so make sure you give due love to these hard working fellas and check out a great show while you’re at it.