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The Raveonettes: Chain Gang Of Love


The Raveonettes

Album: Chain Gang Of Love
Label: Columbia

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The Danish duo The Raveonettes garnered some notice last year for its debut EP Whip It On, which featured eight tracks–each under three minutes, each written in B-flat minor, and each an uncanny synthesis of The Cramps' spookiness, Sonic Youth's disaffection, and The Jesus And Mary Chain's marrow-scraped beach-party music. Too bad the gimmicky songs weren't strong enough to withstand the band's dogmatic game-playing or the rush of hype that met the disc's U.S. release. The Raveonettes' first full-length album, Chain Gang Of Love, fares better, perhaps because the key of the day is B-flat major, an inherently more uplifting sound. When the core duo of singer-guitarist Sune Rose Wagner and bassist Sharin Foo rip into the fist-pumping chorus of "That Great Love Sound" or "Heartbreak Stroll," the jittery charge may be 100 percent Jesus And Mary Chain, but blatant aping doesn't make its effect any less powerful. More impressive are the tracks that find The Raveonettes modifying its sound to make use of new members Manoj Ramdas on guitar and Jakob Hoyer on drums, replacing the band's drum machine. The quiet pulse of bass that opens "Dirty Eyes (Sex Don't Sell)" echoes the repression and hypocrisy of its subject, while the wobbly electro-country of "Love Can Destroy Everything" switches up the album's mood, as does the way the peppy "Little Animal" slams into the wrenching rave-up "Untamed Girls." As with Whip It On, Chain Gang's greatest virtue is that it's short enough not to wear out its welcome. The band smartly bookends the record with its best songs: the almost stately opener, "Remember," with its "Be My Baby" backbeat and its simple guitar riff, and the hammering, positivist finale of "New York Was Great," which is just intense enough to erase memories of the occasional lukewarm leftover that preceded it.