CD Review of Lust Lust Lust by Raveonettes
Recommended if you like
Ultra Vivid Scene, Oasis,
Jesus & Mary Chain
Label
Vice
Raveonettes: Lust Lust Lust

Reviewed by Mojo Flucke, PhD

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I
f the Raveonettes were an answer on Jeopardy, the question would be, "What would it sound like if someone, somehow, meshed the Jesus & Mary Chain with Ultra Vivid Scene and sprinkled in some Oasis harmonies?" That being said, another pertinent question would follow on its heels: "That's all well and good, but would it be worth listening to?" Even Alex Trebek would agree that it is—not because we're stretching a flimsy metaphor way too far, but because even he (born in 1940) can relate to the late-'50s/early '60s melodies at the heart of the Chain, their shoegazing descendants of the 1980s and early 1990s, and their current revivalist "nu-gazing" contemporaries. That's essentially what makes this genre tick: Simple hooky tunes laden with fuzz on top of more fuzz.

As gimmicks go, it's a nifty trick: Plinky Duane Eddy guitar peppers the Raveonettes songs, like "Hallucinations," for a quiet, harmonious stanza or two, before the shimmering distortion cuts in. The net result is a sound akin to the Everly Brothers on Mars on the slow songs. When Danish ex-pats Sune Rose and Sharin Foo (a guy and gal, for those not up on the culture of Denmark) rev up the tempo in cuts like "Blush" and "Sad Transmission," it's like UVS at its finest. Except better. Hard to explain the distinction to the non-shoegazing aficionado, but here goes: UVS had some brilliant uptempo pop, and at one time was pure ecstatic white noise. Sadly, this trailblazing sort of one-man band got bogged down in songs that seemed to drone on for eternities. Then there's the Jesus & Mary Chain, the wildly inventive duo whose pop M.O.—graft massive amounts of feedback to Beach Boys and rockabilly—gave rise to all this stuff, along with the Cocteau Twins in the early-to-mid 1980s. But the Chain's arrogance and depressing, cynical side made them hard to listen to more often than not.

Happily, the Raveonettes learned from the downfall of these two major predecessors. For the most part, the sound is light and airy and at times, as blithely beautiful as a '60s girl group ("The Beat Dies," "Black Satin"), or strangely nouveau-retro like a spacey sock hop not quite tuned in properly on your AM radio ("Blitzed"). The song "You Want The Candy" is clearly a tribute to the Jesus & Mary Chain, and its upbeat catchiness matches the Chain's finest hour ("Far Gone and Out"). Lust Lust Lust isn't heavy art; it's actually kinda lightweight, like Oasis, and a couple tunes do seem to rattle on beyond when they should have been faded out. But heaviness brought down the Raveonettes' shoegazing predecessors, and on this, the group's fourth album, they offer up a pretty good set of songs played in a rather esoteric genre. Who knows, with a more accessible album than the Jesus & Mary Chain could ever record, maybe the Raveonettes will drum up enough popular support to spearhead a shoegazer revival and dig up Lush's grave for a reunion tour.

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