Reviews

The Raveonettes

Outside of the despicable Aqua's repulsive "Barbie Girl," Denmark has not been known for producing any notable music. That is, until now: Enter the Raveonettes, who are among the new school of Danish musicians (along with Junior Senior) creatively reinterpreting familiar musical archetypes. These clever Danes -- Sune Rose Wagner (boy) and Sharin Foo (girl) -- take their ideas from American music history and innovatively package them for resale back to the U.S. Their namesake, which is inspired by the Buddy Holly song "Rave On," is just the starting point for the knowledgeable borrowing that they do on their debut album, Chain Gang of Love.

Chain Gang is in a similar vein to the group's debut EP, Whip It On, which at twenty minutes in length is only ten minutes shorter than the full-length. While Whip It On was recorded strictly in B-flat minor with a drum machine to accompany Wagner's guitar and Foo's bass, Chain Gang is recorded strictly in B-flat major with drum samples occasionally enhanced by a live drummer. Though originally intended for release as a complementary mini-album to Whip It On, it sounds just as great on its own. Fuzzy but jagged feedback reminiscent of the Cramps and the Jesus and Mary Chain powers "The Great Love Sound" and "New York Was Great," while the spirit of the Ronettes and the Go-Go's can be heard on "Little Animal" and "Noisy Summer" in the duo's unique twin harmonies.

Despite the musical restrictions they impose on themselves, the Raveonettes wring the most out of their instruments. Their dense, distorted elements are squeezed into dark, pop-friendly, bite-sized morsels such as on "The Truth About Johnny," which could be taken as a cold and eerie interpretation of the bubblegum and poodle-skirted "Johnny Angel," except their construction and delivery of the song comes off as easy yet powerful.

The Raveonettes may borrow liberally from varied sources, but what they come up with is distinctly unique. A reactionary comeback against the overproduced and stylized music of today, they reduce their influences to the bare minimum, skirting complexity and opting for simplicity instead.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lily Moayeri