Raveonettes return impresses fan with icy pop record
October 23, 2009
“Bang, you’re so vicious baby!” are the first words that greet listeners on the latest LP from the Raveonettes, aptly titled “In and Out of Control.” What follows is the distinct fuzzy feedback and sharp, piercing twang of electric guitar and echoing wails of that contribute to the trademark Fenderpowered Raveonettes ambiance. Fans who have followed the twosome for any period of time will feel right at home.
The second track, “Gone Forever,” is immediately jarring, featuring a heavy bassline and upbeat rhythm, which combine for an overwhelming fluid wave of sound that perfectly compliments Wagner’s soft, understated vocals. Another highlight is the sexy and slick “Breaking Into Cars” that is flush with hints immediate danger and adventure. “You take me for a spin, you take me for a spin / Until I crash into the stars / I’m crashing into cars,” is a potent sample of the words the seductive and carefree Foo rolls off her tongue.
The Danish Rock duo, which consists of the multitalented Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo, carry along with them an immediately recognizable sound that they have used to craft and polish off of two excellent studio albums. The Raveonettes prove they’re armed with an endless arsenal of glossy, new edge creations sprinkled with a dash of catchy pop hooks in the unlikely case anyone loses interest. They’re a difficult pair to deconstruct, as they are just as likely to invoke comparisons to Interpol as they are to Aqua (if that makes any sense at all).
There is not an abundance of material on “In and Out of Control” that really merits multiple listens, but “Last Dance” is a song that pleases on multiple levels. It’s seemingly jovial and melodic pace masks the tragic lyrical content: an affectionate revisiting of a lover’s overdose. “Everytime you overdose / I rush to intensive care / Another sad eye stare / Before you disappear,” Wagner recounts, with the faintest hint of melancholy on the tip of his tongue.
The biggest enigma is clearly the track “Boys who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed).” Although it has all the individual elements of a great creation-a deft guitar solo, a sing-song electropop tempo and minimalist, painfully brutal lyrics (“They rip you to shreads / Make you feel useless / You’ll never forget / Those fuckers stay in your head”), but ultimately serves no immediately apparent purpose and feels awkward located in the middle of the album. Serving as the impactful center of the record, it doesn’t quite work, but it’s extremely disconcerting to listen to Foo as she delivers her vengeful message in a decidedly calm and calculated manner.
The entire album has a edgy, dark pop feel to it-for the most part, Wagner and Foo seem to have cranked down the volume a few notches since their previous release, “Lust, Lust, Lust” (which would have been perfect if it wasn’t so damn loud) and settled with a comfy reverberating groove that is so free-flowing that it seems as if they’re navigating through their playlist on autopilot. An exception to the rule is “Break Up, Girls!” an ear-piercingly intense ride that is effectively a giant middle finger pointed towards abusive guys. Although somewhat uneven, this return is more than good enough to impress.
Andrew Phelps is an alumnus of UW-River Falls.