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CD review: The Raveonettes, 'Raven in the Grave'

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raveonettes040111.jpgThe surprising endurance and influence of "Psychocandy" deserves a dissertation or a book. At last month's SXSW music showcase, there was a little Jesus and lot of Mary Chain sulking around. You heard a little of Reid-brothers influence in buzz band Yuck, more in young bands like Ringo Deathstarr and the Joy Formidable (both once removed from the impact, sounding more like the Primitives).

For nearly a decade, Danish duo the Raveonettes have been held against that milestone, from which they draw so much of their sound -- the palpitating drums, the distorted, tinny guitars -- but on "Raven in the Grave" (2 and a half stars), their fifth album out Tuesday, they finally break free. Waves of drone keep the usual pop choruses up against the wall, while plaintive guitars mull melancholy lines where drums once used to pound and the effervescent cheer that bubbled through previous records is flattened out. None of this is a complaint, except when the listless air goes too far ("Summer Moon" is fatigued and fatiguing, as they sing, "This perfect thing is dying"). "Let Me On Out" will take root with new MGMT fans ("Congratulations," not "Oracular Spectacular"), and the unbearable lightness of "Forget That You're Young" facilitates the mission of its title. Elsewhere, "Raven in the Grave" hums with menace, strums with sad beauty and glows in a hazy twilight -- like a rave in the grave.

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Good concise review. This is my introduction to this band and I still see a strong Jesus and Mary Chain (not to mention Catherine Wheel) influence here, but the 60s pop feel is still strong. They manage to pull a remarkable number of things together into a coherent whole. Compelling, moody, atmospheric pop. Full review at

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on April 2, 2011 4:00 PM.

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Extras: Robbie Robertson, Hugh Laurie's 'House' of blues, 'Songs for Japan,' power pop, Streisand is the next entry in this blog.

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