Record Review - 3 March 12 2003

If people are going to brand the Raveonettes a garage band (and some critics already have), they could at least do them the service of rhyming the offending word with "carriage" instead of "mirage." Because if their debut EP is any indication, the Raveonettes are straight-A students of late-'80s U.K. rock 'n' roll. The opening of Whip It On is practically a photostat of the first few bars of The Jesus and Mary Chain's Psychocandy, and the frantic "Do You Believe Her?" sounds like a Ride record playing at 45 rpm.

The Raveonettes' Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner (who are neither lovers nor siblings, so stop the obvious White Stripes comparison before it starts) have crafted volcanic pop songs that are equal parts swagger and dread. The guitars are so distortion-drenched they threaten to detonate the speakers, furious chords frequently giving way to riotous rockabilly solos.

The eight songs on Whip It On come off like the soundtrack to the same sweaty nightmare — one where a gun-wielding Phil Spector is stuck in a studio with Chapterhouse. It's harrowing pop pushed to the breaking point.

The Raveonettes play the Echo Lounge Sat., March 15.