Sharin and Sune kick
out the jams, no irony necessary: Raveonettes at Bimbo’s 365 Club in SF, Nov.
By Zach Bloom
There’s a ton of smoke and a noisy loop of guitars emitting
from the P.A. as the lights dim. The band casual takes the stage in casual
dress, as the loop gives way to the opening riff of “Gone Forever.” It’s the
standout track on In And Out Of Control,
the new album that sums up everything The Raveonettes have been about since
their hasty inception some eight years ago.
Two things are most immediately clear as the rhythm section
kicks in: theirs is a small, heavily-produced drum set (bass drum stood up like
a floor tom with a tambourine attached, crash cymbal, snare) that replicates
the lush “power drum” sound of the 80s, splashing with every snare hit; the
other is that Sharin Foo is kind of impossibly pretty – in the ballpark of the
best looking musician, period. What she does because of and in spite of her
looks is the focal point of the show. No one in the audience is unaware of what
she’s doing or where’s she’s wandered off to – even (or especially) as she
leans over to fiddle with her amp. Sune Rose Wagner, her male counterpart on
vocals and guitar, wisely harbors no delusions of stealing the spotlight.
This is right where the Raveonettes should be. “Those were
some from the vault,” Foo remarks, following a string of older tunes ringing
with fuzz and disaffected cool-this is highlighted by “Veronica Fever,” off Whip It On, their debut mini LP. The
bulk of the set, though, focuses on last years’ distortion-soaked Lust Lust Lust and the new one-a bit of
a redirect, veering away from the acoustic relaxation of 2005’s Pretty In Black. The tender moments are
meticulously placed to contrast against the ear-bleeding guitars, guaranteed to
fill any vacancy. When both Foo and Wagner swap Jazzmasters (or are they
Jaguars? Sue me, I can’t always tell the difference) for tambourines on a
stripped-down, inverted version of “Break Up Girls!,” the stage feels
incomplete. Playing with the crowd’s anticipation, the two take their time in
getting back to the guitars, swaying with the bass-line groove.
There’s a scene in David Lynch’s Fire Walk With Me when Laura and Donna
go to an evil Canadian bar that’s all strobe lights and blaring music that’s
probably supposed to sound like the Jesus & Mary Chain but isn’t. It’s a
very Lynch theme, playing on the innocent memories of girl groups by corrupting
it with modern noise. Employing a similar approach, “Boys Who Rape (Should All
Be Destroyed)” and “Suicide” anchor the second half of set. Stripped of the
dark themes and lines like “Your boyfriend’s mean and your mom’s a bitch,” (or,
“Those fuckers stay in your head”) the tunes are a joyous romp, and The
Raveonettes play it straight. There aren’t belying smirks or self-conscious
wisecracks. They write about the world they see, and everyone’s part of it.