The duo of Mike Stroud and Evan Mast have stayed remarkably true to the sound they developed on Ratatat's first album, 2004's self-titled affair. Though there have been slight stylistic diversions on the albums that followed, especially on 2008's LP3, their core of neatly wound, double-tracked guitar melodies, thrumming basslines, and tight beats has remained intact. Though it was released five years after its predecessor LP4, a gap that might lead one to think that big changes were brewing, 2015's Magnifique delivers everything fans might expect from a Ratatat album. Stripping away much of the excess instrumentation and frills that adorned the previous two albums, Magnifique mostly sticks to the basics on the way to becoming the duo's most brightly immediate record yet, bouncing between sunny, hook-heavy uptempo tracks that have the kind of manic energy that could lead people to tear off their shirts and seriously lose it on the dancefloor and relaxed, soft rock-inspired songs that serve as a nice soundtrack when one is coming down from those kinds of highs. Almost any song could be lifted from the album for their greatest-hits collection, like the super-catchy "Cream on Chrome" or the driving "Abrasive." Along with all the trademark Ratatat moments, along the way a couple songs deviate from the norm in pleasing ways, like the Santo & Johnny-styled Hawaiian ballad "Drift" that drifts along during the middle section of the album like a soft warm breeze, or the swaying cover of Springwater's 1971 song "I Will Return," which features the guys' first ever vocals. The epic-length dancefloor jam "Nightclub Amnesia" stretches out their usually concise tunes into something expansive and pretty brilliant, easily giving Daft Punk's most recent efforts a run for their money. Throughout the album, the duo's blend of instrumentation proves masterful once again. Every instrument is locked tightly in place exactly where it should be and the little tricks they drop in here and there to keep things interesting work just the way they intended. Magnifique doesn't show a ton of artistic growth or progression; it's more of a rebranding that tightly focuses on their strengths and passes them to the consumer like a sharp, swift punch to the brain and feet.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra