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The Raveonettes

Whip It On

Release Date: 11.19.02
Record label: Crunchy Frog
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.


Garage Rock: Accept It Before It Destroys You
by: matt cibula

Garage rock is so back that we might as well call it New Wave. I mean, come on; what were the first two B-52's albums except dressed-up 60s-punk worship? This is the direct line, for those of you keeping score: blues boogie-woogie to bluegrass to rockabilly to Brit Invasion to garage rock to glam to Motorhead to punk to new wave to post-punk to grunge to indie pop to post-rock to, well, the Raveonettes, and all those other bands like them. Actually, a lot of this stuff is oozing out of Scandinavia these days—did they just discover this stuff? Did the first two Troggs records finally make it up to the Tower Records at the North Pole? What's up with that?

Whatever it is, this is a fine example of it: eight tracks of blistering crunch packed into 21 minutes and 41 seconds. The Raveonettes, who seem to be a guy called Sune Rose Wagner and a woman called Sharin Foo, have studied their Nuggets compilation and their X albums and are probably buddies with the Hives and Saraha Hotnights, but that doesn't mean they're not making some compelling music of their own. I'm not sure it's "original" per se, or that they deserve the reputation they're getting in some parts as the best band in the world right now (that would be Café Tacuba, probably, or maybe the Klezmatics), but this EP kicks so much ass it might as well be Dixon in "Alias."

Y'know, 'cause you don't mess with Dixon.

The first track is the first single, "Attack of the Ghost Riders," and it manages dopeness, despite not really actually being a song or anything. There are verses, all whisper/sung in that ultra-echoey way they have, but no real chorus where there should be one, and about six bridges. And after listening to it A LOT, I still don't know what's happening in this song. But it's all justified when they go, "It goes something like this," and then start slamming some guitars in the most destructive antisocial way possible. And later, when they do it again, you'll just start grinning and not stop for days or even weeks.

This is the effect of most of these songs. "Do You Believe Her" sports some Rawk Music 101 lyrics to go with its Husker Du chug: "She says some things you never want to hear / She says some things that make you sick / But do you believe her / When she says she loves you? / Do you believe her? / Is this for real?" The police sirens on "Cops on Our Tail" are just as crucial as the sighed repetitions of "Fuck you" that bring the song to a close. And there's no way to beat "Beat City" as an album closer, with its insane chorus: "Wanna die in Beat City / Run run run / Wanna hang with girls and shoot my gun / Wanna catch the rays of the sun / Wanna drink and drive and have some fun". I mean, come on, you KNOW that kicks ass, in a very anti-PC sort of way.

Okay, so too many songs have the same tempo and use the same vocal timbre, and so "Veronica Fever" squanders a great name on some portentious atmospherics that don't quite pay off. So what? Big deal? This is rock and roll, baby, and if you can't stand the heat then go listen to something "worthy" and boring. This is imperfect unboring fun. 21-Jan-2003 4:16 PM