Uno de los discos de 2012 que aún teníamos en la recámara para comentaros algo sobre él es este séptimo trabajo del dúo danés-angelino The Raveonettes. Un disco en el que Sharin y Sune hacen lo que mejor saben hacer, es decir: facturar temas Pop con unas pocas notas, buenas dosis de distorsión y ciertas melodías que nos retrotraen a épocas pretéritas. Lo cierto es que éllo tiene un cierto mérito, el hecho de que en todos estos años (ya llevan diez desde que se publicó su debut) no hayan cambiado apenas de registro. Pero de alguna manera es un hecho que la pareja ha bajado mucho el acelerador en lo que al aspecto creativo se refiere. Se echan de menos atmósferas tupidas de antaño, ese sabor a medio camino entre el kitsch y el Noise. Afirma Sune que muchos de los temas de este disco los ha compuesto en el piano, y creo que éso se nota. En muchos de ellos baja el pistón y se echan de menos las notas menores de los primeros tiempos.
No hay hits instantáneos, cucharadas de ese jarabe meloso con el que nos degustaron hace tiempo con discos como Lust Lust Lust o Pretty in black. Hoy en día de aquellos Raveonettes tan sólo adivino a imaginar vestigios ya algo remotos incluso.
Con todo, en esos momentos particularmente inspirados aparecen buenos temas como Downtown, Observations y particularmente Sinking with the sun, la más animosa y distorsionada de toda la colección.
Me sigue gustando la distorsión… ¡Qué le vamos a hacer!
“When the Raveonettes burst out of Copenhagen 10 years ago, they recorded each of their albums under a strict creative constraint, which seemed a bit arbitrary at the time. Every song on their 2002 debut EP, Whip It On, was written in B-flat minor; B-flat major defined their first full-length, Chain Gang of Love, a year later. For catalog highlight Lust Lust Lust in 2008, Sune Rose Wagner trashed all the crash cymbals and played all the instruments himself. “I always put a little bit of restrictions on myself, and I only do it for my creativity,”Wagner told Pitchfork that same year. “And I do it sometimes because I want the music to stand out a little bit more than many other bands do.”
Those restrictions distinguished their first batch of albums, and even the subtle loosening up on 2005’s Pretty in Black, their most polished and, some might say, overcooked record, gave it a specific sonic identity. Moreover, it implied a sense of growth and development, painting Wagner as something of a gleefully mad scientist; despite being dismissed as gimmicky, the Raveonettes prospered in the wake of the millennial garage rock movement, even as groups like the Vines withered and fell away. In retrospect, those restraints seem impressively savvy, as they always kept new ideas and new moods in reserve.
Perhaps because those simple guidelines so defined those early releases, the piano appears to play a much more prominent role on Observator, their latest album, than it actually does. It’s the main instrument on the second track and early single “Observations”, which marks the first time the Raveonettes have showcased the instrument in their music. It suggests a musical theme for the record, as though Wagner had challenged himself to write every song on keyboard instead of guitar. Especially following the skeletal, spryly despairing opener “Young and Cold”, the piano’s heavy sustain becomes a kind of drone in itself, slyly tweaking our expectations for shoegaze drift. Those pounded chords square off against the sharp notes of Wagner’s rockabilly guitar to give the song its perverse, nocturnal vibe, which suggests the Raveonettes possess the power to transform even the sunniest afternoon into post-hangover 3 a.m. In a year when one of the biggest pop hits evokes the vodka-commercial glamor of a night spent club hopping with attractive friends, “Observations” picks up the party a few hours later, when all your friends have abandoned you and you’re not sure how you’re going to get home.
A full album in this vein sounds promising, but unfortunately, Observator has no interest in teasing out that mood or even using that instrument again. The piano is quickly discarded and with it any sense of the album as a distinct entity in the Raveonettes’ later catalog. They can still set a specific mood with just a few notes, and Wagner and Sharin Foo deliver some of their spryest hooks on “She Owns the Streets” and “The Enemy”, but these songs sound suspiciously light, lacking the urgency or stakes of their best material. Especially on the second side, Wagner indulges a particular strategy of repeating lines until they resemble hooks without actually hooking you. Especially sequenced back to back, “Downtown” and “You Hit Me (I’m Down)” quickly become grating, making even a short album– just over thirty minutes– sound interminably long.
Wagner has written that he was listening to the Doors while he was writing these songs, which is a dangerous prospect for any artist. The Raveonettes even recorded several tracks at Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles, where the Doors recorded their debut. In fact, the Raveonettes have always had a promiscuous relationship with pop history, dredging grungy 1950s juvie rock and 60s girl groups through 70s punk and 90s shoegaze. A decade into their career, on Observator they seem to be settling comfortably into themselves, integrating their influences and fascinations into lush drones and dark riffs. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that the album sounds too comfortable, too familiar: It’s so deeply entrenched in their comfort zone that it sounds too easy– not effortless, but automatic and rote. There’s too little joy in their lyrical or stylistic transgressions, as though they’re content to simply observe rather than take action” (pitchfork.com)
Estaba claro que The Raveonettes estaban tramando algo. Los Ep´s del año pasado ya lo aventuraban. Un cierto giro estilístico se estaba urdiendo. Un cambio que les ha llevado hacia un punto de introspección insospechado y que, de camino, se ha llevado muchas de las ideas de las que hacían gala allá por 2003 cuando debutaban con su aclamado Chain gang of love. Es cierto que en Raven in the grave (2011) Sune Rose Wagner y Sharin Foo retoman ciertas sonoridades propias de aquellos discos, pero las melodías de los temas, y especialmente el arrope sonoro, no están en ningún momento a la altura (Summer moon, Let me on out, Evil seeds, My times up). No obstante, no todos son malas noticias. En el camino nos han dejado, sin embargo, cuatro temas memorables. Recharge & revolt, que es una especie de resumen homenaje a lo mejor del Shoegaze. War in heaven, que partiendo de presupuestos Dream-Pop se convierte en una especie de elegía Neo-Gótica del mejor Pop oscuro. Ignite, que es un tema que entra de lleno en ese renacer de los ochenta que muchos grupos ya están comenzando a llevar a cabo, con su ritmo programado (que a lo largo de todo el disco se hace algo pesado) y su nube de sintes. Forget that you´re young es, sin duda, el mejor tema con diferencia del disco, y se convierte en uno de los clásicos himnos de The Raveonettes, de ésos que en este Raven in the grave echamos tanto en falta. Se les agradece el esfuerzo por intentar epatar con material diferente al del resto de su producción, pero al menos por ahora, el resultado no es todo lo satisfactorio que nos esperábamos.
“The Raveonettes may have written only a handful of distinct melodies in their career, but their presentation has given them the staying power. Their theatrical sense was there from the beginning– we saw band members Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo sitting on motorcycles on the cover of 2003’s full-length debut, Chain Gang of Love, and a movie poster tableau for of 2005’s dusky Pretty in Black– but by their 2009 album, In and Out of Control, they had toned down the visuals and made their most aimless record to date.
In concept alone, then, the duo’s fifth LP, Raven in the Grave, is a corrective step. The untangled pop of In and Out of Control has been reconfigured and dipped in black eyeliner as the Raveonettes veer toward 1980s goth. It’s a canny move, since dark sounds and moods have been creeping back into indie after a long stretch of beach-obsessed escapism.
The thing is, darkness isn’t the best look for the Raveonettes. The album title suggests a tongue-in-cheek approach, but this might be the band’s most joyless release yet. It’s not like they’re missing the mark on their source material, either. The cloudy, Disintegration-like synths of “War in Heaven” and the metallic beat of “Apparitions” both suggest their comfort with this material. But there’s none of the spiky propulsion that has marked their best music. In the case of one-two fizzle “Summer Moon” and “Let Me on Out”, they seem to have completely forgotten to write melodies. And though lyrics have frequently been placeholders for these guys, the adapted angst on display here is an ill fit. There’s a “War in Heaven”, you see, because “I hate it/ When they forget/ To let people in.” The problem in “Evil Seeds”, on the other hand, is that rain causes the protagonist to “betray the ones I’ve come to love the most.” These wasted words seem too shoddy even for the back of someone’s spiral notebook.
There are spots where light shines in. Three songs, in fact, are among the strongest the Raveonettes have recorded, which makes the album seem like even more of a missed opportunity. Opener “Recharge & Revolt” is their most majestic shoegaze moment yet, while “Ignite” is a particularly sweet slice of 1990s alt rock, with a thrilling build and sweetly sung yet morbid chorus that suggests the band hasn’t completely lost their sense of humor. Then there’s “Forget That You’re Young”, which is hands-down the best song on the album and a true career high. It’s always hard to tell with this pair, but the latter song comes over as honest and genuine, a potential new way forward for a band that could use one” (pitchfork.com)
El cuatro de Abril está programada la edición del que será el quinto álbum de estudio de The Raveonettes: Raven in the Grave. El dúo danés se aleja algo con este single de adelanto, Forget that you´re young, de su clásico sonido algo cavernoso plagado de guitarras, distorsiones y poses de lo más cool. Aquel sonido aristado queda aquí bastante más atemperado, aunque la canción sea realmente deliciosa, en cualquier caso. Aquí se apuesta más por rescatar sonidos ochenteros y arreglos pseudo-electrónicos. Habrá que esperar al álbum. Por lo pronto, disfruta de este nuevo tema pinchando en el enlace.
“In the past year and a half did you ever find yourself feeling a void for Danish shoegazers?If so, have no fear because The Raveonettes are set to release their 5th LP, “Raven In The Grave”, April 5th on Vice Records.
The band has released the first single off the album, “Forget That You’re Young”, which is a pleasant, low-key and all all around nice little tune. It features steady jangling guitars, an interesting bassline and etheral vocals from Sharin Foo” (listenbeforeyoubuy.net)
Disco, en definitiva, que según he leído por algún lado, es un intento -loable- del dúo por acercarse al lado más hedonista del Pop, abandonando algo su pose algo más seria, incluido en el aspecto de las letras. Ésto está bien, pero personalmente encuentro que lo que realmente ha bajado el dúo, quién sabe si intencionadamente, ha sido su intensidad sonora: la distorsión es mucho más apagada, muchas guitarras están en un plano más secundario; las cajas de ritmos empleadas no aportan el matiz sonoro característico del dúo. Intensidad que por ejemplo, sí encontramos en otro grupo con componente femenino en sus filas: Gliss. Bien harían Sune Rose y Sharin Foo en volver a la senda perdida.
“On a superficial level The Raveonettes’ bittersweet allure has been obtained by filtering surf guitar motifs and doo-wop standard-bearers like the Ronettes through whatever electrical machination it was that gave The Jesus and Mary Chain their brittle searing edge. Which may sound like a simplistic idea on the face of it, but these two poles have provided the Danish duo of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo with four albums of distinctive, sometimes dark, frequently beautiful vignettes.
And though they’ve been hugely accessible and often great (their previous album, Lust Lust Lust, was outstanding and certainly worthy of consideration as one of 2007’s best), In and Out of Control is the most immediate material The Raveonettes have released to date. The vast wash of reverb and static that typifies their sound is still there to a greater or lesser extent – particularly on ‘Break Up Girls’, which is the sole track that makes real concession to the side of their character that luxuriates in offensive noise – but in the main this veil has been drawn back somewhat, forcing the melodies and bones of the songs to the fore; they feel cleaner, happier, and carry less baggage to get in the way of the obvious pop sensibilities.
It is a quite subtle but very real change in focus. In tracks like ‘Bang!’, ‘Suicide’, ‘D.R.U.G.S.’ and ‘Gone Forever’ big choruses dominate and though dark and dangerous lyrical themes abound, the delivery of them is sweet, almost removed – even on the saccharine ‘Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)’. Similarly, ‘Last Dance’ sounds like a suicide at a prom, which is conveniently what it is about, on the face of it; that, or the last in a long line of overdoses, at least, which amounts to the same thing.
These regular grabs for attention stick a little – there’s a slight impression that some of the themes have been skipped across like a flat stone dancing across a deep lake, purely for effect: Drugs? Check. Suicide? Check. Rape?…but it’s to the Raveonettes credit that the superficiality and dark hunour with which these subjects are broached is ultimately liberating. Indeed, it’s not this that causes lingering doubts so much as The Raveonettes continued dependence on a one-trick formula. They can be either more overtly poppy, or more overtly noisy but those are the long-established and hard-set parameters and as a result a stationary if well-studied repetoire of songs is ultimately mined.
That not to say that you’d have them change; they were around before a host of bands trading on similar stock, and had a fair old dose of Shoey’ in them from the start. Besides, The Raveonettes won’t change. This is their thing, their schtick. And for the most part, bending phil Spector out of shape and dragging him by his hair through a raft of distortional devices and all the while kicking the hell out of the ‘Leader of the Pack’ is a very good thing” (drownedinsound.com)