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Latest from Raveonettes melancholy but suffices

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The Raveonettes are perhaps the least distinctly pop band on the planet. Much of their work would have fit in perfectly during the early ‘60s, had the group not distorted it in every way possible.  Tracks like “My Time’s Up” on the group’s new album, “Raven in The Grave,” resemble some of the Beach Boys’ more experimental work, except with everything fizzling and crackling like a 40-year-old LP.

The band’s two long-term members, Danes Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo share vocals on every track, creating a male-female harmony that adds to the feeling of early-pop nostalgia. One thing setting the group apart from its popular predecessors is the constant gloomy mood. The dark imagery on the album cover and the morose title hint at what to expect lyrically. Although Edgar Allen Poe isn’t consciously referenced aside from “The Raven,” he would be proud with the depressing state of affairs in the group’s prose.

Tracks like “Forget That You’re Young” and “Evil Seeds” rival even The Cure for most melancholy melodies. The Raveonettes have never been a happy band per se, but this album finds it in its most pessimistic position to date.

Sad doesn’t mean bad, however. “Apparitions” uses echoes and a mildly eerie keyboard to keep things just as catchy as they are creepy. The same goes for “Forget That You’re Young.” Other tracks are less efficient. “War in Heaven” is OK musically but the simple lyrics are meaningless aside from sounding dark, and “Summer Moon” is just boring.

Distortion still plays a major role on the album, but it’s been toned down from past work. On the group’s acclaimed 2007 “Lust Lust Lust,” the group would sometimes veer into painful bursts of white noise. The group limits itself here, but unfortunately that means that it occasionally loses the ethereal quality that albums like “Lust” had in copious amounts.

3 stars

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