Filed under: album, mp3, review | Tags: 2009, music, seb law, the raveonettes
In & Out Of Control •••½
Fierce Panda / Vice
In & Out Of Control is, perhaps surprisingly, The Raveonettes’ fourth studio album. The collaboration between statuesque Danish duo Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner has been going for almost a decade without any real breakthrough in terms of commercial success, always slightly out of step with everyone else making similarly retro-leaning psychedelic rock, leading many to unfairly overlook their capabilities. And while Foo and Wagner are not ones to court anything so passé as a chart hit – their 2007 album, Lust Lust Lust, wasn’t even eligible for the UK countdown due to their dogged determination to include a pair of 3D glasses with it – with each new release they make a consistently valid case for not being forgotten. In & Out Of Control is their second independent album after leaving major label Columbia, and follows last year’s ambitious mission to record and release four EPs, allowing them to explore a variety of different sounds. It’s perhaps a little odd then it is essentially a stripped-down, basic rock record with the occasional synth hints that characterised their previous effort.
Fittingly for an album titled In & Out of Control, it’s a record of two halves. Opening track ‘Bang!’ kicks off proceedings as sparkily as its name suggests, though they quickly slip into The Raveonettes’ trademark blend of retro shoegazey surf-rock with a pleasantly twisted edge. That said, the first three tracks clatter along fantastically and reveal themselves to be surprisingly radio-friendly. ‘Last Dance’ is especially pretty, evoking ‘Empire Records’-style mid-’90s nostalgia with twinkling keyboards and some stellar ooh-ing. It’s when the fourth song pounds its way in that the album’s structure crumbles eponymously. Like Amanda Palmer’s ‘Oasis’, ‘Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)’ addresses nonconsensual sex in an upfront and subversive manner, and the effect is perhaps even more disarming on first listen. The cutesy harmonisation, a little reminiscent of Camera Obscura, is in turn destroyed by Foo’s biting phrasing of “those fuckers stay in your head”.
From thereon in, the subject matter darkens considerably, taking in death and suicide, alcohol and drugs, relationship breakdowns and grand theft auto. While some bands might swallow themselves up in their earnestness or maudlin self-absorption, The Raveonettes provide an accessible angle on a sometimes touching, sometimes angry, series of manic acts. The indulgence continues unabated through the vices, all supported with appropriate percussion and direct, punchy lyrics. Highlights include ‘Suicide’, which kicks in much like ‘Bang!’ with an angsty stomp and poignant lyrics, and ‘Oh, I Buried You Today’, a gorgeous vignette of mortality that could dampen the eyes of even the hardest punk.
As with other Raveonettes albums, In & Out Of Control loses some momentum as it heads into its final third. The penultimate three tracks share similar structure, chanting choruses and distortion which renders them somewhat interchangeable. The two minute long raawwk of distortion at the start of ‘Break Up Girls!’ aside, they could all be a part of the same song. Alas, it’s one that’s not nearly as catchy as those contained in the album’s first half. That said, this is another unkempt but enjoyable record from an underappreciated band and deserves to be noticed.
UK release date: 05/10/09; www.myspace.com/theraveonettes
FREE MP3: The Raveonettes, ‘Suicide’ [via Pitchfork]
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