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Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Raven in the Grave", The Raveonettes in gloom

Raven in the Grave- The Raveonettes

"In and Out of Control" was an album capable of summarizing the career of the Danish duo while offering their strongest collection of tunes, offering so much to enjoy that is hard not to consider it their best effort. So what to expect after reaching (arguably) your peak as musician? "In and Out of Control 2"? No, Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner chose the hard way.

While you wouldn't call The Raveonettes music as "sunny" or "happy" their previous album was upbeat and it was full of singalong ("Last Dance" or "Bang!"), moments. Say farewell to that, as "Raven in the Grave", replaces the fizzy and sweetness with darkness and gloom. But don't be scared, we still have melodies, harmonies and excellent songs. They are just hiding, shadowed on a cold mist.

The start is terrific. "Recharge and Revolt" is anthemic and impassioned, even without a traditional chorus. "War in Heaven" is a true gem, atmospheric and delicate, with Sharin Foo delivering her most haunting singing to date. And closing the winning trio, "Forget that You're Young", another irresistible melody

Unfortunately, the middle section of the album is not as remarkable. "Apparitions" is a valuable attempt to make a departure from their sound, with its intrincated and tortured rhythm recalling Warpaint, but "Summer Moon" and "Let Me On Out", a ballad and a short midtempo song, although cute and wonderfully crafted, don't deliver or add anything substantial to the record.

Luckily, the rescue comes in the form with the last batch of songs. "Ignite", is traditional Raveonettes, unforgettable chorus, vocal harmonies intertwined from Wagner and Foo and chiming guitars. A much needed injection of effervescence. And then we find "Evil Seeds", with its somber introduction, then turning into a pummelling beat as the skeleton of a melody that plays, gracefully, the loud/quiet strategy, before exploding into a wall of guitars that dies on an acoustic and compelling note. Superb song, that impacts you enough to make you go through the final song, "My Times's Up" almost without make you wonder why it sounds so similar to "Summer Moon".
Overall, I have to praise The Raveonettes from making the brave movement of moving from the successful path of their previous record and present us something more concerned on creating a mood, and atmosphere, on capturing and provoking emotions than on commercial results. It doesn't have as many brilliant songs as "In and Out of Control" had, but it shows a band seeking for creativity and challenges, and when they hit the target, they create some wonderful (and deeper) songs.

SCORE: 7/10

The link to my article (in Spanish) reviewing the record, from the website I collaborate with:
"Raven in the Grave", el invierno en primavera de The Raveonettes

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