Wednesday, October 21, 2009
In an uncertain world, there’s something to be said for consistency. I’ve seen the Raveonettes at the Paradise three or four times over the last few years, and I always know exactly what I’m in for: noisy, gorgeously dark rock and roll, performed with energy and an irresistible coolness. Though a lot of songs from the brand-new In and Out of Control made it into the set list, last night the Raveonettes sounded basically unchanged from the last time I saw them, their sound as sleek and timelessly classic as a vintage black leather jacket.
It’s no coincidence, in fact, that the Danish band has always cultivated a distinct visual style. Last night, singer/guitarist Sharin Foo epitomized rock-star glamour with her sparkly black heels, one-shoulder dress, and chopped blond bangs; while singer/guitarist/songwriter Sune Rose Wagner radiated an elfin sexiness in tight black skinny jeans. Clearly, the Raveonettes are aware of the power of their personas as a selling point—at the merch table, you could find mugs, stickers, and bags emblazoned with a cartoon of the two band members, starkly drawn in perfect lines of black and white.
Which isn’t to say, though, that the band is all style and no substance. Accompanied by a drummer and bassist, they sounded great last night despite some early technical difficulties, drenching their trademark 50s-style girl-group hooks with fuzzed-out guitars and sweet yet affectless vocals. Many highlights came from 2008’s amazing Lust Lust Lust, with “Blush,” “Dead Sound,” and the eerie, Twin-Peaks-esque “The Beat Dies” sounding especially powerful. They slowed down for a spare, almost acapella take on new song “Oh I Buried You Today” and a hushed version of “Little Animal” that sounded almost like a lullabye—until you heard the lyrics.
The new song that probably left the biggest impression was “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed).” With its addictive chorus and sweetly harmonious coda, I guarantee this is the catchiest song about sexual assault that you’ll hear this year (or maybe ever). Definitely worth a listen.
And in the meantime, here’s the Raveonettes’ video for “Black/White”—one that perfectly sums up their musical and visual style: