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Ratata - 2002 Kollektion

ARTIST: Ratata
ALBUM: Kollektion
LABEL: Universal Music
SERIAL: 064 966-2
YEAR: 2002


LINEUP: Mauro Scocco - lead & background vocals, guitar * Johan Ekelund - bass, keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Honug * 02 Drommar * 03 Forsent * 04 Jackie * 05 Natt Efter Natt * 06 Vem * 07 Nagot Jag Maste Saga * 08 Ge Inte Upp * 09 Manniskor Som Hor Ihop * 10 Sa Lange Vi Har Varann * 11 For Varje Dag * 12 Ogon Av Is * 13 Se Pa Mig Nu * 14 Himlen * 15 Du Finns Hos Mig * 16 Paradis * 17 Vild * 18 I Dina Ogon * 19 Nagonting *

Usually an eBay search in 'Hi-tech' or 'Rare AOR' will reveal one or two CD's from Swedish duo Ratata and their releases can be expensive. With a wealth of collectibles to choose from, I've passed over their output for years until recently picking up their 2002 retrospective 'Kollektion' on the cheap from our trusty friends at Amazon and better late than never. Exquisitely presented, the full colour CD booklet peppered with art house photos includes an extensive interview (in Swedish) with both Italian-born Mauro Scocco and side-kick Johan Ekelund who joined Ratata following their 1982 debut.

The Songs
With my extremely limited command of the Swedish language I'm still able to decipher a few fun facts including the original Ratata formed in 1979 and were heavily influenced by Kraftwerk, Roxy Music, Yellow Magic Orchestra and David Bowie although by the time their first album was released, their direction was deliberately patterned after the UK's 'new pop' movement. Scritti Politti, The Human League and OMD all played an important role in defining the photogenic duo's pop vision and apparently they were quite successful, notably earning a 1987 opening act slot on Roxette's now legendary 'Rock Runt Riket' tour of Sweden. Ratata's swan song 'Manniskor under Molnen' ('People In The Clouds') was released in 1989, but the opening track 'Honug' ('Honey') seems to have been recorded just for this release and was put out as a single. I'm not sure if this was a one-off reunion or there was something else in the wind but the tune's smooth groove reminds me of A-ha's later albums. Not a bad start and if it weren't for the Swedish vocals 'Drommar' could almost pass for Tears For Fears song while 'Forsent' ('Load Late') has a Midwest feel which carries over into the westcoast-ish title track from their second release 'Jackie' and both should have wide appeal for GD readers. Of course as good as Ratata gave, they took very few chances and too often as on the cheesy ballad 'Vem' ('Who') as well the duet with ABBA's Anni-Frid Lyngstad 'Sa Lange Vi Har Varann' - they seemed all too happy to fall into middle of the road boredom.

In Summary
And yet 'Kollektion' is a fine body of work and worth looking out for especially considering their early discs could put a minor crack in your credit card. Singer Mauro Scocco went on to release several solo albums while Johan Ekelund has appeared as session player on numerous albums none of which I own!

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