Over the course of four albums – five if you count the eight song debut EP Whip It On (Crunchy Frog/Sony, 2002) – Copenhagen’s Raveonettes, consisting of the striking duo of Sune Rose Wagner (guitar and vocals) and Sharin Foo (bass and vocals), have defined themselves as the most prominent contemporary purveyors of a Jesus and Mary Chain-inspired noise-pop sound. Like the aforementioned group, The Raveonettes’ records are loaded to the gills with everything one loves in a stellar fuzz rock band: namely, a noisy wall of sound blending with drop dead gorgeous melodies, bringing to mind everything from 1950s rock’n’roll to 1960s girl groups to classic garage and surf rock. So, what’s a band to do when they’re at their creative peak? Try something different, of course.
With the group’s sound pretty much perfected on Lust Lust Lust (Fierce Panda/Vice, 2008) and In And Out of Control (Fierce Panda/Vice, 2009), it’s not that surprising that they would want to explore new terrain. What is surprising is that Raven In the Grave is such a curve ball, yet still holds its own with everything in their back catalog. On initial listens, one immediately notices that the band’s trademark guitar sound and big drum sound has been replaced by dark keyboard-enhanced soundscapes, bringing to mind the likes of New Order or Radio Dept. Lyrically, Raven is very bleak too, a concept album of sorts about love gone sour, with the words as striking as the music. On “Let Me Out,” Foo exclaims, “How we loved and how we tried and how we fell apart / Let me on out / Let me find someone new,” while on “Ignite” she laments, “I hate what I am now / What if I could die / What if I could make my heart explode / And never cry.” On “Evil Seeds” she declares, “When I’m gone like a raven in the grave young lovers sure won’t spring from these evil seeds.”
Raven is very much a singular body of work. Some individual highlights include the opener, “Recharge and Revolt,” a destined-to-be Raveonettes classic, albeit more in the vein of something like New Order’s “1963” than their typical JAMC-style distortion pop, with Wagner’s strong melodies soaring over a sea of atmospheric sounds. “Ignite” pummels like Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” musically and lyrically. “Summer Moon” is a drop dead gorgeous 1950s-style ballad, while the similar “My Times Up” is even better with Foo’s stirring vocals enhanced by sweet shoegazey sounds, as if Slowdive took a stab at “Sea of Love.”Visit: The Raveonettes | Vice
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