The Raveonettes - Raven in the Grave

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2011-04-04

In common with quite a few bands who emerged during the garage rock revival of the early 00s - most notably The Strokes - Danish duo The Raveonettes have been perversely resistant to any serious artistic development. At least in this band's case the sonic stagnation was partly conceptual. The band's first album was written entirely in the key of B flat minor, after all. Since then they've settled comfortably into a tried-and-tested garage-pop sound, all fuzz-up guitar and girl group drum beats, occasionally blasting out a great song such as 'That Great Love Sound' or 'Love in a Trashcan' with such studied disinterest you could be forgiven for thinking they just plugged in their guitars and bashed away for a few minutes then sloped off back to their bat-cave without bothering to review the results.

Raven in the Grave (my eyes hurt just reading that pun) seems to buck this trend by actually stretching the duo's sound palette. For a start, it contains another genius little nugget to add to the band's future best of compilation. The twist is that 'Forget That You're Young' isn't the kind of uncomplicated, sugar-rush rock 'n' roll The Raveonettes usually excel at. Instead, it's a delicate, chillwave-y almost-ballad which shimmers along on understated beats and a lovably simple keyboard motif.

'Forget That You're Young' really has no competition for the title of album highlight, but a couple of other tracks come close. 'My Time's Up' is another fragile slow number in which to lose yourself. Meanwhile, 'Ignite' is more old-school Raveonettes, but with some extra gloss and a surfeit of guitar hooks, and first track 'Recharge and Revolt' mixes New Order and My Bloody Valentine to surprisingly skilful effect. Elsewhere, however, the group trudge on with business as usual. Songs such as 'Evil Seeds' and 'Let Me On Out' are all pose and not much in the way of a memorable tune, and sound like they're still at the demo stage. It's hard to tell if The Raveonettes are just lazy when it comes to songs like these or if they genuinely believe this is music they should be making. Either way, Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo need to have a serious think because it's clear from the best songs on Raven in the Grave (still hating that pun) that they can do much better.

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