Raveonettes: Blank-Eyed & Ferocious

Sune Rose Wagner, left, and Sharin Foo performed songs from their album, "Lust Lust Lust."
Sune Rose Wagner, left, and Sharin Foo performed songs from their album, "Lust Lust Lust." (By Soren Solkaer Starbird)
Monday, March 31, 2008

The Raveonettes comprise only two singer-guitarists, but the Copenhagen band's drony, nostalgic, reverb-heavy roar is anything but minimalist. Their sound suggests an Ennio Morricone score for a movie that David Lynch hasn't gotten around to making -- or what might have happened if Phil Spector had produced "The Velvet Underground and Nico" instead of Andy Warhol. (Former Ronette Ronnie Spector even sang on the Raveonettes' 2005 "Pretty in Black" album -- ironically, the group's least successful.)

At a sold-out Black Cat on Saturday, Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo (plus a drummer) proved both how great their film-noir fuzz sounds at high volume and how repetitive it becomes in as little as 70 minutes. Their new album is called "Lust Lust Lust" (not "Sex Sex Sex," which is why they don't need a bassist), and their shimmering waves of high-tremolo angst, usually delivered in three-minute doses, are more heavy-petting than boom-chicka-boom.

Wagner and Foo are sedate performers, their blank stares matching the numbness of their vocals -- unusually for a male-female duo, it was impossible much of the time to tell who was singing what. The vocal catatonia contrasted with the building ferocity of Wagner's guitar blasts; by the time he got to the pulpy surf of "Love in a Trashcan" mid-set, air-guitar solos began to break out among the packed house.

For "Lust Lust Lust," which provided most of the night's 19 songs, the Raveonettes worked without the formal restrictions on song length, key and number of chords that defined their seminal albums, but the result still suggested a return to form. So vive la diff┬┐rence when the duo covered Stereolab's "French Disko" -- suddenly, chord changes and shaking hips everywhere!

The closing "Twilight" finally delivered the endorphin release they'd been teasing us with all night. Delaying our gratification this long might not have been a recipe for the hottest rock show ever, but thematically, it was apt.

-- Chris Klimek

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