Denmark’s The Raveonettes live in a sonic universe made up of girl-group pop, Velvet Underground ennui, Jesus And Mary Chain fuzz, audiobooks of Jim Thompson novels, and little else. The duo’s fourth full-length album, In And Out Of Control doesn’t veer wildly from what’s come before; it applies a classic pop sensibility to scenes straight out of a tattered pulp novel. But it’s poppier and scuzzier than the preceding albums, as if someone contracted The Crystals for a late-period noir soundtrack released by Creation Records. A cult act almost by design—the band’s debut 2002 EP consisted entirely of short songs composed in B-flat minor—the band seems unlikely to win over anyone not previously moved by Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo’s wide-eyed gutter pop. Those sympathetic to their approach will find the group as alluring as ever, from the swelling, skeptical, summer-celebrating album-opener “Bang!” through the sing-along despair of the overdose-referencing “Last Dance,” and beyond.
Wagner and Foo sound more preoccupied with bad love than usual here, focusing on heartache, the pills and booze we use to keep the pain at bay, and the ways pain tends to return with a vengeance. The album is better when the lyrics remain more suggestive (the slinky “Breaking Into Cars”) than explicit (the self-explanatory “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)”) but In And Out Of Control mostly finds the band thriving in a niche of its own creation, while contemporaries who set out in search of a broader audience have faded away. The Raveonettes’ world isn’t a particularly nice place, but here, it sounds like home.