Review: ‘Raveonettes’

When Danish duo the Raveonettes decided to write the songs on their new album in B-flat major they discovered that sometimes half-steps can yield big dividends. Album showcases a broader musical palette, adding overtones of the Beach Boys, Link Wray and the Shangri-Las to their Jesus and Mary Chain drone.

When Danish duo the Raveonettes decided to write the songs on their new Columbia/Crunchy Frog album “Chain Gang of Love” in B-flat major — moving up from the B-flat minor of their debut EP, “Whip It On” — they discovered that sometimes half-steps can yield big dividends. The new album showcases a broader musical palette, adding overtones of the Beach Boys, Link Wray and the Shangri-Las to their Jesus and Mary Chain drone. It also seems to have enlivened them, as the duo (augmented to a quartet in concert) sprinted their way through an hourlong set.

Songs such as “Noisy Summer” and “Little Animal” float on gusts of feedback and sustain — guitarist Manoj Ramdas doesn’t really have much to do except abuse his instrument and strike poses in front of his amp — but their melodies pound anthems or are sweetly lilting. But the Raveonettes are best when they bring the noise. “Let’s Rave On,” performed with just guitar and drums, sounds weak and puny, the kind of song the rest of the set would beat up at recess. The band needs the harmonic and rhythmic definition of a bass, even one as fuzzed out as that of Sharrin Foos.

By the time the band got to its final number, “Beat City/Everyday,” the aud was caught up in the Raveonettes’ noisy swell and rush. Ending up kneeling onstage, guitars squalling, it didn’t matter what key the band had chosen. It was raunchy, ecstatic fun.

Raveonettes

El Rey Theater; 770 capacity; $15

Production

Presented by Goldenvoice.

Cast

Band: Sune Rose Wagner, Sharrin Foos, Jakob Hoyer, Manoj Ramdas. Also appearing: Stellastarr*, Kittens for Christian. Reviewed Oct. 2, 2003.
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