But somewhere, undoubtedly, it all went wrong. Mention the name of the band to a teenage scenester and you’re likely to get a blank look in return (although this is generally just what their faces look like, so be wary of reading too much into it). A band who formerly adorned many a bedroom wall in poster form are in danger of slipping by the wayside.
So it’s a good job that their latest record, In And Out Of Control, is cracking, and arguably their best collection of songs so far. There’s not a totally duff track present, and although none of the songs really have the stunning immediacy of some of their early work, it’s a mature, thoughtful and polished record. That might set alarms ringing, as the Raveonettes were always brilliantly raw, with none of the rough edges smoothed out, but it’s very definitely a good thing. You have to move on eventually.
They’ve also moved on from the aping of the Jesus and Mary Chain, trying their hand instead at ear-bleeding My Bloody Valentine-style levels of sheer noise on ‘Break Up Girls!’, which, brilliantly, gave me a massive headache the first time I listened to it. That hasn’t happened since the first time I heard Mika, but this was much better. Unfortunately the effect is somewhat spoiled by the ploddingly pedestrian closing track that follows. It seems the duo haven’t quite got their annoying habit of trying to do ballads out of their heads yet. Note to the Raveonettes: You are not the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. ‘Last Dance’, the other prominent slower song here, flops similarly.
It’s a bitter contrast from the opening of the album, which goes, amazingly, “BANG!”, right in your ear. I don’t recommend listening through headphones as your head might actually explode on impact. More albums should definitely start with the singer shouting in your lughole.
The standout track here is the phenomenally brave ‘Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)’. Based solely around the repeated line of, erm, “Boys who rape should all be destroyed”, some sinister sitary guitar floats over the top, before a stunning piece of harmonics from Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner closes the track. It’s an astonishing song, and you have to admire the balls of the pair for even attempting it.
It really works as an album too. It’s over before you know it, but that’s not to say it isn’t involving and immersive. ‘Suicide’ and ‘D.R.U.G.S.’ are, conversely, highlights, and the sheen of quality persists right the way through the record, making it the band’s most complete work. As you’ve probably gathered, the album is typically dark lyrically, but the contrast with the newly upbeat music works particularly well. Juxtaposition is the in thing for the Raveonettes as they progress towards ten years as a band.So could a renaissance for the band be on the cards? On the basis of this, there’s no reason at all why not.
This review was written for Muso's Guide.