Monday, October 12, 2009

the raveonettes, in and out of control

At the last Raveonettes show at the HiFi Bar, I passed out. I can only assume, as I don’t drink or take drugs, that their frightening amount of cool overwhelmed me and I came over all faint. I’m still not sure. I regained consciousness after a few seconds and demanded of a worried Chris that we had to stay until they’d played one of my favourite tracks from previous album Lust Lust Lust—“Aly, Walk With Me”. This swoon-inducing band is made up of Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner, who hail from Denmark but now live in the US. The two of them sing, play guitar, have a drum machine and enjoy a bit of feedback.

The Raveonettes, mostly, aren’t an overly complicated band. They sing about dancing and love and summer and heartbreak. They did a brilliant rendition of “My Boyfriend’s Back” on their 2005 album Pretty in Black. They are a rock band in the pure sense—they write great songs and you love them, want to dance to them and sing them really loud in a convertible Cadillac along Palm Beach. Track one from In and Out of Control, the impossibly cheery “Bang”, declares that “kids wanna bop/out in the street/fu-fu-fun/all summer long”. It’s a hard sentiment not to agree with. I’d like to have fun all summer long too, though it’s a shame it can’t extend to other seasons.

Personally, I find them to be the perfect band to listen to when you’re driving along at night. Somewhere between The Beach Boys, hipster rock and rockabilly, I feel a bit cooler just by listening to them. I’ll suggest their style is surfabilly, but keep in mind that I’m a bookseller who likes music and I don’t really know what I’m talking about. Not all their songs are sunny—or at least as sunny as the music itself sounds. A good example up until now would have been the essentially happy but initially sad tale “Love in a Trash Can”, another song from Pretty in Black and which I listened to on heavy repeat. Now, their harder tracks are best explained through track four of this new album. The first time I heard the song, in the car on the way home from work, me and Chris both started at the chorus and looked at each other, whispering, “What...what did she just say there?” The song, I learned after groping through my bag for the cover, is called “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)”. It’s a small song. “3 to 1 girl/how can you win/one horrid night/you hope that it’s a bad dream/they rip you to shreds/make you feel useless/you’ll never forget/those fuckers stay in your head.” The upbeat feel of the song really throws you for a loop, and to be honest it’s probably the catchiest song on the album, too. The chorus has an echo, which makes it even more compelling to sing with a friend, though you’ll undoubtedly feel a bit awkward doing so in a shopping centre when you remember what you’re actually singing.

There’s not a Raveonettes song out there that I don’t like. Their guitar licks are catchy and vibrant, Sharin Foo is cute as hell, and their tunes will probably make you want to dance with a tall, skinny guy with a quiff and Cuban heels. Don’t resist it. I certainly can’t.

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