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The Raveonettes “Pretty in Black” Review

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

I was well aware of “Chain Gang of Love” but I wasn’t all that interested in checking out “Pretty in Black” until I saw the group perform on Late Night with Conan O”Brien. I don’t recall which song the group played, but it was excellent.

“Chain Gand of Love” doesn’t begin by following my dreams of a Conan-esque album. The first two tracks “The Heavens” & “The Seductress of Bums” go back to that retro-slowed-down Raveonettes that I had previously known. Bums includes the electronic beat, but doesn’t reveal the best example of it on this album.

“Love in a Trashcan” begins to pick up the pace and brings out the slicker styled sounding Raveonettes that I much prefer to the soft ballad playing group. “Sleepwalking” delivers along these same lines.

“Uncertain Times” introduces an acoustic sound accompanied by a great 50’s riff on electric. But as the law of averages suggests, with the good comes the bad. A rendition of The Angels’s “My Boyfriend’s Back” misses. With an electric backbeat and a medium at best pace, this song fails to introduce a new flavor to the already available mix of covers.

“Here Comes Mary” furthers the slow 50’s style that initially pushed me away from Te Raveonettes. They do it well, in fact they do an excellent job of replicating this sound. But it doesn’t suit my tastes; during the era that the group is replicating I much prefer Little Richard to Roy Orbison or the Everly Brothers; to each his own I suppose. “Red Tan” follows, sounding much the same.

“Twilight” might be my favorite recording on this album. There’s an introduction (with the exception of the beat in “My Boyfriend’s Back) of a newer sound. Starting of with a Batman-ish groove, the song transforms into an electro-pop smash with just the right amount of fuzz. I Highly recommend it; enjoyable from beginning to end.

“Somewhere in Texas” keeps the pace going, with a neo-outlaw-love-song. I much prefer songs such as this and “Twilight” because they represent what the group is about without staying in that stagnant rut. They progress their sound by introducing modern elements that compliment the classic music. “You Say You Lie” is another prime example of how the group sounds better when including fresher elements; it just works for the group, giving them a truly distinct sound in my opinion.

“Ode to L.A.” finds itself in the middle. I wasn’t sure what to make of the song to begin with, but it grew on me. By using Christmas bells, the moderate-tempo of the track really compliments itself; not asking more out of the song than it can give.

In true Raveonettes fashion the group ends with “If I Was Young,” another slow Western sapper. This song takes exception with the feeling that it is the ending credits for this album. In that regard, it puts the capstone on a diverse, rockalicious album.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]