While it’s not quite as extreme a move as, say, Kiss wiping off their makeup, this Danish combo did take quite a chance earlier this year by abandoning its wall-of-fuzz sound and, most shocking of all, choosing to use more than one key on its new “Pretty in Black” album.
At this Gotham perf, the duo of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharrin Foo — augmented by three hired hands culled, oddly enough, from the Scandinavian jazz scene — conjured up a set that underscored the Brill Building quality of the new tunes without dulling the edge of older offerings.
The most obvious change from perfs past was Foo’s shift from bassist-singer to more conventional front woman — a fitting move given her icily come-hither demeanor. The extra engagement worked wonders on songs like the tough-gal opener “You Say You Lie” and a lovingly rendered cover of “My Boyfriend’s Back,” both of which benefited from the upfront punch provided by new bassist Anders Christiansen.
Aud responded a tad more effusively to songs that relied more heavily on Wagner’s reverb-heavy guitar, notably “Attack of the Ghostriders” and the aptly titled “Noisy Summer.” His steady thrum was peppered by the captivatingly disjointed leads of Manoj Ramadas, who’s toured with the band for a couple of years now but still manages to seem like he’s attacking a given song for the first time.
Set peaked toward the end, when Foo and Wagner rolled out a brace of odes to Stateside locales — a recurring theme since the band’s nascency. The arid “Ode to L.A.” proved particularly hard-hitting, but aud reaction favored the more frenzied “New York Was Great.”
The Raveonettes play Spaceland in Los Angeles tonight through Thursday night.