Yes, you don’t get the 3D glasses that come with the UK release of The Raveonettes’ latest album, “Lust, Lust, Lust,” but, fortunately, that’s not the only great thing to come out of this package of delight. The Danish band’s fourth release manages to remain three-dimensional without glasses.
The album opens with a shift away from the duo’s happy surfer rhythms on “Aly, Walk With Me,” a song that could easily be the theme tune for a movie about a German prostitute who kills people in hideously graphic ways for money to fuel her smack addiction. Just like the prostitute, the song cannot survive long this way, and breaks up into static before the dark guitar tune comes surging back and the song fades out.
The album does shift back towards the band’s typical electro-Beach-Boy sound with the second song, “Hallucinations,” but never recovers from the initial rupture. The song starts out naturally enough, restrained and waiting to soar. And soar it does when Sharin Foo’s voice intones “I rise in the morn / and I leave you / to die” — who can’t indulge their bitterness for a moment? The once happy sounds are punctuated by a sadness that never completely replaces them and the effect creates something like a surf-city for the damned, if you will, haunted by the retro dreams of plenitude. In fact, the album in general has a “Dead Sound” — to use the words of one song title.
The Dutch band explores various facets of Americana, such as the country song, which they reinterpret with a 1980s drumbeat on “Honey, I Never Had You.” But despite the outward resemblance to songs one might know, lyrics like “I’ll rip you up / Dying deep within” do not confirm one’s initial suspicions. In a world which is increasingly looking over the abyss, The Raveonettes take a peek and bring something back, a soundtrack to accompany our fall. Their sadness is somehow consoling in these grim times.
When one describes The Raveonettes’ new tunes as “surf rhythms,” it must be made clear that these are not your average surfing songs. The band explores the territory between punk and surf music. Yes, “Blitzed” sounds like the Beach Boys on a basic level, but their instrumentalization is more aggressive, somewhat similar to the psychobilly band “The Meteors’” interpretations of surf music.
Admittedly, the Raveonettes are not the only band producing uplifting electro-indie rhythms but damn, they do it well. “Sad Transmission” has a fantastically wintry sound and is great music for brooding while sitting on a pier and watching the grey Connecticut waters flow past the tips of your shoes. The guitar is tight and restrained — despite the mumbling vocals and the indistinct words, the song is instantly pleasing. “You want The Candy” is the another joyous song. It is also perhaps the most dodgy. “The taste of you tonight / Take me on / Strangers in the light” is followed by “I know that you want the candy.” “C’mon, give me a dirty treat,” the woman (Foo) demands, and the man (Sune Rose Wagner) responds, “I know that you want the candy.”
The remix of “Aly, Walk With Me” by Obi Blanche (found on the iTunes version and the B-side of album) is the only annoying song. It didn’t need to be remixed, and the result is just boring: It lacks the menace of the original. Perhaps they could use it as a soundtrack for a bad action movie.
Notwithstanding this addition, the album is set to become something that you’re going to hear every time you go out — if you’re going to the right parties.