The Raveonettes
Hoxton Bar & Grill, London
7th September 2009

Whatever happened to The Raveonettes? Saying this while they’re standing in front of you is an absurd thought, but really, whatever happened to The Raveonettes? Their ‘What if the Jesus and Mary Chain were a ’60s pop band?’ idea at least clicked on first spin, but when time came round again, you were ready and the surprise wasn’t as big or as pleasing, and after that they fell off my radar. Sure, they made albums, sold records and swooned fans, but “The Great Love Sound” seemed like a short-lived affair.

A surprise Monday night warm-up gig for London fans to promote their forthcoming fourth album In and Out of Control seemed like the natural conclusion for a day spent in bed getting acquainted with these Danish pop dynamos. Rape, suicide, guns, stealing cars — it was as if The Raveonettes on this new record were trying to make the last great artistic statement of their career before they drove their ‘65 Plymouth Fury into a brick wall.

Walking onstage as a four piece, The Raveonettes had an ace in their hole and they knew it. They could’ve devoted the entire show to the new album and nobody would have batted an eyelid. Back-lit and looking like Nico fronting the Velvets, Sharin Foo dangled like bait on a hook that songwriter and guitarist Sune Rose Wagner waved in front of our faces. Sune, on the other hand, looked like a Danish Jim Reid of the Jesus and Mary Chain. How odd that a band can both sound like another and look like one of their members.

Opening with the bittersweet heartbreak and subtle ode to The Ramones of the brand new “Gone Forever” showed a more mature, ’80s slant to their sound, but the harmonies and rippling guitar melodies were as strong as ever. Without changing gears they roll out “Dead Sound” from 2007’s Lust Lust Lust that reveals tonight is going to be anything but. One of the key tracks from ..Out of Control by sheer title strength alone is “Boys Who Rape (Should Be Destroyed)”, no doubt one of the most disturbingly cheerful songs ever recorded with a potent sing-song chorus that is impossible to say no to.

Sound and influence wise, the band haven’t shifted an inch, and it’s a credit to them for sticking to their guns. Never has there been a band to get such mileage out of Jesus and the Mary Chain’s Automatic or giving their sugar harmonies a soaring ’60’s glaze like on new tracks “Last Dance” and “Bang!”. A lucky dip in the back catalogue with Pretty in Black‘s Everly Brothers lifting “Here Comes Mary” and “Attack of the Ghost Riders” brought things back to familiar ground. Encoring with the sci-fi disco of “Twilight” had the toes tapping, but it’s definitely the new songs that were twi-lighting the way forward.