The Raveonettes made me very, VERY nervous in their last album. It was poppier and smoother than their past noisy, fuzzy rock'n'roll. I was afraid they were losing their edge.
Well, fortunately they haven't. Now attached to Fierce Panda, the Danish band turns "Lust Lust Lust" into a sensual, stormy blend of pop and fierce, eerie fuzz-rock -- basically all their sounds thus far. And with a title like that, you know it'll be sexy and dark in its tones.
A flicker of ringing keyboard, bells, and a slow steady beat and slow retro riff. "Aly, walk with me in the summer/Aly walk with me/Aly walk with me in Portland," Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner sing together. Their meandering song of dreams, walking, cities and summertime are interrupted by spurts of ringing, fuzzy guitar, as if the instruments are determined to have the spotlight.
They strike a softer chord with the eerie, tinny-ringing "Hallucinations," before launching into a series of similar songs -- there's lots of raw, stormy rockers tinged with sparkles and quiet moments, and sensual retro ballads that sound like they were lifted from an urban neo-noir movie.
There's even a few pop songs, like the Velvet Undergroundian "You Want The Candy" -- as with the VU songs, methinks that title needs no translation. And like the VU, it's wrapped in layers of bouncy, fuzzy guitars.
"Lust Lust Lust" has much the same sound as "Chain Gang Of Love," the Raveonettes' second album. But this time around, they have more experience and polish -- and thankfully, less poppiness than the sprightly, radio-friendly "Pretty in Black." Thank God, Columbia is off their backs and their older sound is back.
Their musical maturity can be heard in almost every song. Yeah, every one is shrouded in tinny, programmed drums and bass, with rough, blistering guitar tangled in fuzzy feedback. And they include occasional flickers of twinkly keyboard. But rather than sounding alike, little sonic flourishes and twists give them individual qualities -- some ("Expelled From Love") are haunting, some are raw, and some are poignant.
The weird factor isn't downplayed by Foo and Wagner's shared vocals. They pretty much always sing in unison, giving their vocals an odd androgynous sound. And their lyrics are pretty hard to make out, but there's a sly, randy quality to all the songs ("The dark comes bittersweet/Black loving pops/Come on, give me a dirty treat").
"Lust Lust Lust" is the album I've been waiting for the Raveonettes to make -- dark, fuzzy, dirty and managing to be both rough and polished. They finally got to make what suits them best.