Record review: The Raveonettes – Observator (2012, LP)

The news of a new Raveonettes release has never made me want to double-time it to the record store and part with a sizeable wad of my hard-earned cash. In fact, up to now, the biggest reaction you’d be likely to hear from me regarding the Danish duo’s music would be a half-arsed “meh”. They’ve always been one of those bands I’m happy to let slip under my musical radar so not to waste time that could be spent listening to the Strokes or the latest indie-rock flavour of the month. But lo and behold, eleven years after their formation, they have finally grabbed my attention with sixth album Observator. If you’re a long-time fan, you’ll recognise all the band’s trademarks: lo-fi gothic fuzz, classic pop structures, a skewed vision of modern relationships, and a thinly-veiled Velvet Underground obsession. What you’ll also find is a cohesion lacking in other Raveonettes releases, and a willingness to chuck in a few new instruments, with impressive effect. Opener ‘Young and Cold’ is a slow start, evoking images of walking home alone in the rain with the weight of the world on your shoulders. ‘The Enemy’, ‘Downtown’ and ‘She Owns The Streets’ showcase their ability to write the darkest of dark pop, while the gothic keys on the title track work nicely with Sune Rose Wagner’s gloomy guitar lines, before ‘Sinking With The Sun’ ups the tempo and proves they can still rock out. For the first time, it seems that the Raveonettes aren’t trying to sound anyone else, and are happy sounding like themselves. In this case, that can only be a good thing. (Vice)

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