Sometimes one forgets that anything and everything can go wrong. Despite their peripheral similarities to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and bands like that — skronk power-ups, reverb set to 11, monochrome aesthetics — I’d never lumped Raveonettes in the same category and thus didn’t figure they’d ever seriously bag their surfy 1950s innocence for pedestrian revisitations of Roger Corman-esque werewolves-on-Harleys shlock. And yet here are the first two songs on this one going full steam ahead, bumming me out, as if to say “buy the T-shirt on our Jagermeister tour!”
Crisis averted, though. The scariness fades when Sharin Foo takes the mike for “Forget That You’re Young.” In her signature ghost-whisper, over a skeletal rhythm that would have fit on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, she sings “can I kiss you,” sounding like she really thinks she needs to ask; it’s then and there that the duo reminds you that they can lay waste to any and all crypto-sexual nu-gaze challengers. Notice, however, that I tossed up an ’80s reference, not ’50s-surf — despite usual suspects like “Summer Moon” and the Mamas & Papas-ish church-bell-pop of “Let Me On Out,” the band is evolving, or at least trying to see what it can get away with and still be irresistible. Anyway, whatever, the core Raveonettes sound is still here, in all its Jesus & Mary Chain-tinted glory, and there’s no question they’ve earned the right to strike a couple of rock-star poses.
—Eric W. Saeger