WHIP IT ON
"It possibly took the Jesus and Mary Chain to split up before anyone realised the effect they'd had on the musical landscape of the 1980s and 1990s. It also took them to split up before any of the kids who'd grown up sitting around their bedrooms listening to them would dare to emulate, or least 'borrow a few riffs from, them. I know I wouldn't mess with East Kilbride's hardest. And not since 1995 did I think I'd ever write the words "noise merchants" in a review again."
Andrew Stevens gets excited about The Raveonettes' debut
COPYRIGHT © 2003, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
It possibly took the Jesus and Mary Chain to split up before anyone realised the effect they'd had on the musical landscape of the 1980s and 1990s. It also took them to split up before any of the kids who'd grown up sitting around their bedrooms listening to them would dare to emulate, or least 'borrow a few riffs from, them. I know I wouldn't mess with East Kilbride's hardest. And not since 1995 did I think I'd ever write the words "noise merchants" in a review again.
With a name sounding more like a bee-hived pre-Motown
group, Denmark's Raveonettes
manage to capture the spirit and the essence of the Mary Chain on their
debut, but without the blatant vinyl xeroxing a la the likes of Black
Rebel Motorcycle Club (who are to the Mary Chain what The Monkees
were to The Beatles). You have to wonder what effect living in the cold
climate of Denmark and Sweden does to produce bands like The Raveonettes,
The Hives and the (International)
Noise Conspiracy. I'd be willing to wager that Sharin Foo, the flaxen-haired
and cheek boned front woman, and Sune Wagner, the suitably quiffed male
member of the two-piece noise merchants, have heard their fair share
records. "Attack of the Ghost Riders" might evoke Suicide
in its title but it has the Mary Chain's Psychocandy minimal
drumming and distorted fuzz well and truly on its sleeve. A killer opening
track that just captures your interest by making you stop what you're
doing and hope there's more to come. The dual vocals, which drip over
the fuzz, convey their thoughts beautifully. The near-obsession with
S&M cloys at times, but it's no more apparent than on some venerated
"Chains" displays the twosome's sleazy side, its lyrics focusing in on degeneracy, as you would expect of them by now. "Do You Believe Her" is blessed with the guitar and vocal harmonies the Mary Chain pulled off to great effect in their early days, a notable feat in itself. "Cops On Our Tail", by the same token could pass for a tragic case of non-inclusion on Psychocandy but again, in its own right it's a knockout tune. "My Tornado" is in the same vein of the furious speeded-up fuzz frenzy. But by the time of "Bowels of the Beast" its Birthday Party-style opening riffs and (imagined or otherwise) tales of sunken lows in, well, the bowels of the beast (the sleigh-bells fade out at the end being very redolent of The Stooges "I Wanna Be Your Dog" hook). "Beat City" caps off the mini-LP in the same way that the open track captured your attention in the first place - by now you almost want to give them money to record a longer album. At 21: 41 in length you can't but help feeling a tad cheated, although at the price it's a good as a tenner bag of speed.
With their covers looking like pulp novels and subjecting the listener to degenerate tales of lewd quantity, relayed over a web of fuzz and drone with more than a nod to The Cramps, you get the impression that The Raveonettes would eat The Strokes for breakfast and expose them for the trustafarian charlatan eye candies that they are. I just hope we get to hear more of them, and soon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
lives in London, having attended Goldsmiths College. He is an eminent historian and esteemed music critic. He likes his music to be drenched in feedback, C86, Trojan ska or Warp techno.