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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 28, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 39
Raveonettes show their staying power
Arts & Entertainment
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Raveonettes show their staying power

by Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writer

THE RAVEONETTES
NEUMOS
September 22


The Raveonettes are one of the few indie pop bands that not only have survived the 21st century's first decade intact, but have gone on to produce some of their best work 11 years on. Even more surprising is the fact that they've proven to be true road warriors, crisscrossing the globe so many times that their live performances are sharpened to effortless perfection. Observator, the sixth full-length album from Danish duo Sune Rose Wagner (guitar, vocals) and Sharin Foo (bass, vocals), is possibly their most refined and unique yet.

Appearing at Neumos last Saturday in support of the newest release, Sune and Sharin (now residents of New York and L.A., respectively) were characteristically stoic as they took the stage and went to work on their set. At this point, the two of them have so much material and such an unspoken musical language between them that they don't let up or even seem to bat an eye until the very last chord is struck. Plowing through a proficient 75-minute set of lovely - and very loud - two-part harmonies backed by a wall of feedback and drums is a highly efficient process for The Raveonettes. The pair may not be especially animated (until they're through, anyway), but they deliver a solid show every time.

Starting off with 'Young and Cold' from Observator, the band jumped around all of their recent recordings, later revisiting some 'really old stuff' (as Sune put it) such as 'Attack of the Ghost Riders' from their debut EP, Whip It On. 'Aly, Walk With Me' from Lust Lust Lust was a highlight, as well as 'That Great Love Sound' from Chain Gang of Love and 'Love in a Trashcan' from Pretty in Black. The set was pleasantly noise-laden, yet more refined with the addition of new material. 'Observations,' 'You Hit Me (I'm Down),' and 'Young and Cold' implement piano for the first time in the band's history, creating a sad undercurrent to the deceptively sweet harmonies. But make no mistake - The Raveonettes still deliver a gorgeous guitar rock show. The result of all this subtle experimentation is simply a fresh look at the band six albums in.

Though Observator was meant to be their 'Los Angeles' record, Sune returned to his adopted home in New York to get into the right headspace for writing it. As he wrote on their label's website in June, 'After I got back to New York City, a swathe of bleak and sad songs about lost romances and unrequited love came freely. It makes Observator sumptuous and beautiful in its sound, but bleak and sad at its heart & It's a collection of observations that occur in life and as I've learned, life happens everywhere.'

No one could have predicted how long The Raveonettes would last, or how they would turn out reliably solid albums year after year within the simple framework of bubblegum feedback they've perfected. With Observator and the current tour, The Raveonettes prove that past is only a means to an end, and they're actually quite at home in the present.

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