Record Review - 1 October 09 2003
When Denmark's Raveonettes emerged in late 2002 with their debut EP, Whip It On, the dignified duo radiated statuesque composure in countless press photos heralding garage rock revivalism. It wouldn't be imprudent to refer to Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo as almost mannequin-ish, as on Whip the duo seemed to be wearing someone else's clothes, tailoring a sound from the identifiable, indelible influences of the Cramps, Suicide and, most assuredly, the Jesus and Mary Chain.
With their debut full-length, Chain Gang of Love, the Raveonettes — augmented by a human drummer and an additional guitarist — are still found cutting from the same fabric, but laying more varied patterns. What's old is new again, whether originating from the '50s, '60s or '80s, and the Raveonettes further distill their pioneers and their pioneers' predecessors. Composing conceptually, Wagner has switched framework from B-flat minor to B-flat major, his songwriting going from a scene endlessly repeating to a more realized B-movie. On Whip, a constant screech permeated, but on the more sun-blotched Chain Gang, steam-valve distortion does not build to a head until the third track, "Noisy Summer."
The overall result is boardwalk bop that could've resulted had Phil Spector turned knobs for the Sonics. Following a twangy template, songs range from coquettishly kittenish ("The Love Gang," "Love Can Destroy Everything") to plain feral ("That Great Love Sound," "Little Animal"). Chain Gang of Love is less film noir and more pulp fiction — it's pulse pounding fluff, predictably a little stiff in conception but colorfully outfitted.
The Raveonettes play the Echo Lounge Thurs., Oct. 9. $10.