Ratatat, the band-less rock band

Electronic psyche-rock duo Ratatat’s Sept. 22 show at House of Blues was an experience not unlike existing for 90 minutes inside a mind-warping, booty-shaking Rock Band videogame session performed by two guys who flat-out love playing guitar. You wouldn’t know it from their faces, as Mike Stroud and Evan Mast were obscured in shadow, smeared with video-projection light and disintegrated by heavy strobes. But their guitars, employed in lieu of traditional pop vocals, ungently wept overdriven, melodic tears. Ratatat’s set list tilted in favor of tracks from the just-released LP4 (for instance, the lurching, laser-blasting “Bilar”), but there was also a healthy dose of earlier material for which the band-less band is known, such as the sinister, disco-ballbusting “Shempi,” complete with mutilated remixing of ABBA music videos. Speaking of visuals, the crowd writhed in delicious tandem to every song, as images of cut-up kung-fu flicks, a sunglasses-wearing Baroque string duo and distorted stock videos played eerily onstage. Ratatat comprehends that the best rock shows sometimes require pushing the band to the background. ★★★★☆

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