The Raveonettes

Observator

Written by: TL on 17/11/2012 16:22:22

Ah, The Raveonettes. One of Denmark's biggest rock-export successes in recent years, and a band that has always summoned up a reliable "meh" in response from me. At least up until the release of last year's "Raven In The Grave", on which the duo of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo took their obsession with minimalistic noise-pop and gave it a significantly thoughtful twist that made for at least a few moments where you felt that maybe, just maybe, there was some content worth heeding at the center of their music - that they weren't all style over substance.

As this year's follow-up "Observator" opens with "Young And Cold" however, I'm instantly disappointed to hear that Wagner and Foo have not abandoned their highly stylised and - if you ask me completely shallow - noise-pop way, beginning proceedings with more crunchy, fuzzy noise and letting a simple piano melody spice up detached vocals and trivial lyrics. Fortunately the following "Observations" sounds better with its darker piano chords, its wailing guitar signature and Wagner's singing coming from a place that's more melancholic than hysteric.

Those two songs describe pretty well the back and forth that The Raveonettes have come to signify to me. At times they go for poppy and catchy, and while they have hits under their belts that seem to say this formula have merit, I've always felt like this approach made them sound like they were more concerned with sounding cool than with having anything to say. Then the more down-played and thoughtful moments like "Observations" are more to my liking, because they at least reveal a hint of emotion behind the walls of distortion the duo consistently brings to bear.

On "Observator" these two aspects of The Raveonettes blend together in a way where their shortcomings blur their strengths if you ask me. This is just a roundabout way of saying that I've found it a relatively boring listen though, but you were probably already onto me there, considering the lack of detail I've gone into this far in this review. The fact of the matter is however, that while The Raveonettes must always be commended for mixing up a highly unique and stylish sound, I just so rarely feel like they're actually doing it because they have anything of note to communicate, and "Observator" especially sounds a like a record for people who are more interested catchy phrases and odd combinations of guitar pedals, than they are in any particular emotions that may hide somewhere far behind them.

6

Download: Observations
For The Fans Of: The Jesus And Mary Chain, Yuck, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, The Horrors
Listen: facebook.com/theraveonettes

Release Date 11.09.2012
Vice Records

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