Friday, 14 September 2012

Review: The Raveonettes - Observator

 Some time last year, I found myself listening to a collection of newly made alternative rock songs that together formed a compilation album of songs inspired by last year's major video game Batman: Arkham City. A game that I still don't own yet, so yeah, the soundtrack truly had an impact on me, right? Anyway, after hearing that soundtrack the best song on it was the contribution from a Danish indie rock duo that I had never heard before known as The Raveonettes. Making use of dirty riffage, gloomy flashes of synthesizers and an overriding darkness, they were the most effective band for the game's soundtrack. And as the time comes for listening to a full album, being their latest offering Observator, the band reveals their influence from the golden age of rock and roll to an astounding effect to make something truly unique.

 There's something quite incredible about the band's number of influences that they wear proudly on their sleeves throughout the album. Whenever you hear a two bit harmony from Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo mingle with delicate pop melodies from opener Young and Cold and You Hit Me (I'm Down) you can sense a lot of influence has been taken from constant listening to the kind of music that people like me would have to spend an entire day racking through their Dad's record collection to uncover. Whether it's harmonies reminiscent of The Everly Brothers or Simon & Garfunkel or if it's in the duo's ability to recreate vocals in a manner that is so in debt to 1950's/60's pop music that Observations sounds like The Tremeloes on a downer, they cut it in such a graceful manner that it's impossible not to realise just how important the pop music of the 1960's is and how it holds up to this day.

 The other side of The Raveonettes influence is seen in the way they delicately thread these pop melodies into captivating shoegaze backdrops a la My Bloody Valentine, filling the rest of the groups music with rich textures drawn along silky guitar strokes that give The Enemy a touching sense of chemical joy, one of the few uplifting moments of the album, alongside the pitter-patter of guitar that creeps amongst  Curse of the Night's synth drum intro that calls influences from Depeche Mode and their biggest fans Nine Inch Nails into possibilities. And with this shoegaze influence, the band can easily go off the handle and the riff-athons that close the album on Till the End is a truly glorious uncharacteristic way to end such a serene album, which really sums up the band's total unpredictability and ability to never really stick to the same page as much as you'd believe it was that way.

 And so, as a band truly worth of everyone's attention, as the lesser amount of bands were of everyone's attention in the 1950's and 1960's, The Raveonettes put all their hearts and minds into the performances across Observator to make a truly unique and eclectic collection of songs that you'd would never be able to put on any adrenaline packed video game. You'll never know just which way this album goes as it celebrates good times as much as it dwells in the low times. But with a pristine amount of class, there's little doubt of it's ability to give anyone's time of listening that extra amount of total perfection.

The Raveonettes' Observator is out now via Self-Release. The band will tour the UK from November-December.

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