Album Review
by SashaS

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  More on: The Raveonettes

Chain Gang Of Love' + 'Unstable
  Album Review - 27-8-2003
'Pretty in Black' and other shades
The Raveonettes: 'Pretty In Black'
The Raveonettes: top collection of new hues and blues

The trick with today’s musical offerings is to revive the styles from the past by picking the right ones to emulate. Wherever you stand on The Killers, they have clearly shown that the world was ready for a bit more Duran Duran; other guitar-based bands, from Franz Ferdinand to Hard-Fi, have shown there is plenty of mileage in the angular early 80s post punk time-warp as originated by Orange Juice, for instance.

By the same token, no-one should expect, any time soon, Toyah revival or ‘Green Door’ cover; people don’t tend to mind if you’re a bit derivative, so long as you’re copying the right band. Which brings us to The Raveonettes, the Danish heroes, with their ‘Pretty In Black’ album.

The monochrome-titled set follows the black-rain guitars and taut programmed percussion of debut ‘Whip It On’ and 2003’s ‘Chain Gang Of Love’. Relocating to LA to record their virtual fuzz-free ode to early Rock‘n‘Roll and girl-group pop, Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo have taken their appreciation of the period to the new deep affection.

Although they are powered by the same ‘ideology’ and distantly related to the sound of The White Stripes and The Kills, these Danes have hardly reached the same popularity heights as the other two acts. But, ‘Pretty In Black’ may be their winning ticket to the mainstream. The sound here is clean, crisp and multi-chorded.

Their tunes still invoke noirish fantasies of murderous Hitchcock heroines falling for rebels without causes, although the tunes of twisted tragedies have brightened up a bit. Perhaps by inviting [some of] their heroines - [ex-Ronettes] Ronnie Spector and Velvet Underground’s Maureen Tucker - to expend their sound.

Thus, for the first time ever, the duo’s soft side sees the light of day on the harmony-packed, largely acoustic slice of soul ‘Uncertain Times’ and electronic beats rub up against the swinging 60s twist-and-shouting of ‘My Boyfriend’s Back’. There is the vintage-pop echo of the disc’s astounding lead single ‘Love In A Trashcan’, the whirlwind sonics on tracks such as ‘The Heavens’ and ‘You Say You Lie’, to the sonic-rama limited edition vinyl-only single ‘Ode To LA’ (featuring Ronnie].

Particular highlights on ‘Pretty In Black’ include their cover of ‘My Boyfriend’s Back’, originally written by Richard Gottehrer, who co-produced the album, and ‘Twilight’, an urgent rockabilly song, initially beefed up with a techno beat before exposes itself to be a truly inspired, full on indie-disco anthem.

‘Pretty In Black’ is a near-stunning album that happily and successfully combines harmonies, dreamy melodies and 50s b-movie dramatics with some serious rocking.


The Raveonettes album ‘Pretty In Black’ is released 25 July 2005 by SonyBMG