Surprise! It’s not often that a band like The Raveonettes, with their intensely textural demeanour and explosive, noisy pop, drops an album on us totally unawares. I’m definitely a fan of getting an album this way – no teasing singles, no single video clips, no bullshit launches for an album that isn’t out yet – just ten tracks of good music that I can listen to from cover to cover when I feel like.
The Raveonettes dropped their super top secret seventh record Pe’ahi this week – a slightly different direction for the Danish duo. Only slightly though…
July 22nd saw the worldwide release of Pe’ahi, their seventh since their inaugural 2003 record Chain Gang Of Love, the full, unadulterated release being the first anyone had heard of the album. As far as an album goes, it’s pretty good – lots of white noise, pleasantly feathery fuzz and at times borrowing more from the age of dangerous shoulderpads and cancer-giving cellphones than their previous jaunts into Warhol era Manhattan.
As far as a Raveonettes album goes, it’s one of their best since Lust Lust Lust, and while it delves into something approaching electronic noise pop, it still relies on the sonic twists and turns that we have come to know the band for.
Almost immediately, The Raveonettes once again surprise us – the few hollow opening bars of Endless Sleeper force us to turn up the volume on our speakers, only to give way to an avalanche of layers, jolting us upright and returning to the oppressive noise that we were expecting.
Probable single (without these incessant press releases we have no way of knowing at this point) Killer In The Streets is backed by a surprisingly Madchester breakbeat and a groovy little bassline, lulling us into a false sense of pop security before continuing to get creepy with the strings and piano combo on Wake Me Up. This is my third listen through the record and it still makes me shudder.
By track 7, The Rains Of May takes the album to a very post-punk zone, one of the few songs on the album that gets less intense during the breakdown, that song then ripping straight into the poetic oddity of Kill! – a sleepless lullaby for all of us Prodigy fans who have seen their dad doing weird shit*. As expected, the album’s end is as anthemic as the album gets, the final moments of When Night Is Almost Done and Summer Ends getting a little bit – dare I be such a white girl – MGMT on us.
When all is said and done, it’s not as brave as the duo could have gotten, but with their signature noise-pop sound already entrenched in our brains, a huge turnaround in sound might have just been a little too jarring. To be honest, I can’t picture a less compressed Raveonettes record sounding particularly impressive, nor do I think that electronic is the way forward for these guys – all I’m picturing is that EMA chick who got some mild success back in the day. If you don’t remember, she kinda sucked.
*I wouldn’t recommend listening too closely to the lyrics on this one – they get dark real fast.
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