The Raveonettes - Pretty In Black
A lot of bands at the moment either have a 70s fixation (Jet, Scissor Sisters and The Strokes) or a fondness for the 80s synthpop stylings, step forward The Bravery and The Killers. A decade that has sadly been neglected is the 50s. The Raveonettes embraced this era on new album "Pretty In Black" especially in the guise of American pop music which puts one in mind of diners, leather jacketed bikers, coffee bars, quiffs and the jukebox playing Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent and Carl Perkins. Even the album cover looks like a movie poster from that period with the deliciously decadent Danes looking glamorous and moody with film star poses, the artwork is typical of the culture this band obviously loves and is in awe of.
"Love In A Trashcan" has a familiar sounding surf guitar sound with the dual vocals of blonde bombshell Sharin Foo and moody male Sune Rose Wagner a vital ingredient in The Raveonettes wall of sound. It may be retro, nothing wrong with that but it's so effortlessly cool and irresistibly catchy with melodies which are sweet but have a thinly veiled air of danger that any accusations of a band being a little too obsessed with the past are immediately quashed. It's short but very sweet with the invitation to "come on baby you're my best fix" on offer irresistible to refuse. "Here Comes Mary" has Everly Brother harmonizing on this ballad which has the vocals very low in the mix. It's moving, dreamy and atmospheric leaving the listener all floaty light with undeniable pleasure.
"Twilight" is aptly named as the opening few bars resemble cult US sci-fi series The Twilight Zone. With heavy bass this track is a lot more sinister than the other tracks on the album. The boy / girl vocals dynamics remain with the direct line "I'm not your friend, but your foe". "Ode to LA" has a Phil Spector production style which is not to surprising considering his ex-missus Ronnie features prominently on vocals. This highlights the younger generation meeting an icon of the 60s where the more experienced artiste collaborates with the band of today (think KLF and Tammy Wynette) and with great percussion this is the best track on the album.
"Pretty In Black" has nostalgia, superb songs and is a far cry from The Raveonettes debut album "Chain Gang Of Love". For a band willing to take chances so radically this album deserves a listen for that very reason.
Nicholas Paul Godkin
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