Album Review: In And Out Of Control by The Raveonettes
Very Good, Based on 7 Critics
The Guardian - 80 Based on rating 4/5
Bands don't often get another chance after a bandwagon has left town, but the Raveonettes might be an exception. Six years after emerging in the garage-rock revival that made stars of Scandinavian peers the Hives, their fourth album should put them right back on the map. A pop concoction packed with twangy hooks and dreamy melodies, it sounds like a fantasy fusion of the Phil Spector-produced Ronettes and C86-era indie stars the Primitives.
The Raveonettes don't seem concerned in the least about the Jesus and Mary Chain comparisons that invariably come up in reviews. On their fourth full-length album, they still mine that Phil-Spector-buried-in-distortion equation for all it's worth. However, whereas their last offering, Lust Lust Lust, mirrored the caustic feedback-drenched mood of JAMC's debut disc, Psychocandy, this one is more along the lines of Automatic: fuzzed-out and morbid, but sanitized enough not to make your ears feel like they're about to bleed.
“Bang! You’re so vicious, baby.” Now that’s how you start a record. We know we’re in Raveonettes territory from those opening chimes, and frankly, I can’t think of a better way to spend the season. The leaves are starting to fall, there’s a chill in the air, and rock’s most melancholy Danes are back with album number four. The follow-up to the magnificent Lust Lust Lust, In and Out of Control has a lot to live up to.
Whilst The Raveonettes may never have been fashionable enough or ran far enough ahead of the pack to be at the forefront of any particular movement, the musical climate has rarely been so favourably disposed towards their particular brand of noise-pop as it is now, in the wake of M83, Atlas Sound, Glasvegas, Crystal Stilts et al. On a superficial level The Raveonettes' bittersweet allure has been obtained by filtering surf guitar motifs and doo-wop standard-bearers like the Ronettes through whatever electrical machination it was that gave The Jesus and Mary Chain their brittle searing edge. Which may sound like a simplistic idea on the face of it, but these two poles have provided the Danish duo of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo with four albums of distinctive, sometimes dark, frequently beautiful vignettes.
The Raveonettes fourth album, In and Out of Control, marks another change in direction for the band, though it's much less noticeable than the shift between the glossy, overproduced Pretty in Black and the raw, noisy, and self-produced Lust Lust Lust. This time out, the duo of Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner decided to record in a studio again, and enlisted the production and songwriting skills of Thomas Troelsen, who's worked with a diverse roster of artists that ranges from Junior Senior to Aqua, to his own excellent groups Private and Superheroes. Anyone fearing a return to the slick sounds that almost ruined the band will be glad to know that while there is more variety and a definite pop feel to the album, there is also plenty of noise and raw power to go around.
"We didn't sell millions of albums, and we didn't become an arena-packing band. I could have predicted that," Sune Rose Wagner wrote in anticipation of In and Out of Control, his fourth proper album with co-Raveonette Sharin Foo. Yeah, we could have predicted that, too. In fact, we expected a lot less from the Raveonettes: After two great records (the debut EP Whip It On, followed by the markedly better full-length Chain Gang of Love), it became fairly clear that these Danes were destined to remain faithful to a singular trick (the overblown Jesus and Mary Chain/ Phil Spector fanaticism; eyeliner), always well-rehearsed and respectfully researched.
The Raveonettes’ gimmick is that they hardly have a gimmick at all. Album in, album out, they’re going to assault you with a wall of sound that makes Phil Spector’s sound like a handicap-accessible curb. There are few things you can count on in this world anymore: nuclear holocaust, universal health care in the U.S. being talked about and dismissed as “impossible,” death, and each new Raveonettes album featuring no fewer than eight songs with speaker-blasting feedback paired with bubblegum melodies.