Pendulum Man

I can't tell you anything at all / And that's the biggest joke of all.

Dec 19

Top 10 Albums of 2011 - 7

7 - The Raveonettes - Raven In The Grave

The Raveonettes are becoming a treasure. It’s all appropriated shoegaze, sure. We’ve known that for years. What Sharin and Sune have mastered is exploring the different aesthetics that could be applied to a very limited sound; take a simple beat and simple chords, and amass a litany of approaches, a catalogue of method. Like Peel said of The Fall; always different, always the same.

This is the third in a sequence of very different records indeed. Lust Lust Lust was an evil, harrowing wash of vile feedback and ghostly vocals. In And Out Of Control, still possibly my favourite of their records, was pure bubblegum pop with a horrifying thematic twist (“Those fuckers stay in your head”). And Raven In the Grave; well, Raven shines.

Ever present is the use of straightforward beats and signature melodies; opening track Recharge & Revolt is colossal, but surprising only in length and the absence of Sharin on lead vocal. Ignite is an embarrassingly good impersonation of late 80s MBV, and for all the recycled Phil Spector chord structures that statutorily complete any Raves work, there’s plenty here that I didn’t think they would have gambled with. I think it all works.

Best of all might just be My Time’s Up - the Raves archetype to end all archetypes, but somehow more graceful, less brash, letting the gorgeous sustain speak for itself. They’ve grown, in their own way, sitting and watching the setting West Coast sun.

The closest thing here to the poisonous malignancy of the lyrical themes of In And Out Of Control is Sharin’s acerbic aside, Forget That You’re Young; an unsettling, ghostly refrain that invites the listener to analyse it as negatively as their own twisted psyche allows, thereby creating the haunting effect that it’s not her that’s firmly out of line; it’s you. Sune Rose Wagner declared the record to be “bleak, depressing and beautiful - it’s one of those albums that makes you wanna blow your brains out”. Notwithstanding Sharin’s lingering interlude, his tongue must have been firmly protruding into his cheek. This stuff makes me happy to be alive - no more, no less, darkly.

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