The Raveonettes – Pe’ahi (2014)
Beat Dies Records
With each new Raveonettes album, fans are treated to an ever-evolving version of this duo’s fuzzed out, reverb-soaked sex-rock and their 2014 release Pe’ahi continues with that formula. The question is whether the band’s seventh album has what it takes to hook new listeners, entice them to go back through their catalogue and become life-long fans like me.
2003’s Chain Gang of Love introduced the Danish band to the world with catchy pop songs that had just enough nastiness and fuzz to hook the kids on the fringe. Each song seemed like it could be a radio hit in an alternate universe where interesting pop songs settled to the top of the radio heap instead of the payola paradigm that exists in the real world.
For Sune Rose Wagner, the Raveonette’s brain trust, the band’s next three albums – Pretty in Black, Lust Lust Lust and In and out of Control – were a multi-genre escapade that was fun although a bit frustrating for long time fans. Each of these records represented slight variations on the band’s theme but they lacked those great songs that sounded like “hits” meant for radio glory. I guess I wanted more of that Ravonettes formula that hooked me on Chain Gang of Love and less experimentation with other genres like singer-songwriter, country and even dance.
2011’s Raven in the Grave was a return to form. Like on the band’s debut, each song was a highlight but this time a dark cloud of fear, anxiety and chaos clouded the once sunny skies of the Raveonettes. And I loved it.
This continued with 2012’s Observator but, as I eagerly awaited another trip into the darkness via the odd duo, something must have happened. Did Sune lay some demons to rest? Did he find true love? To me the songs on Pe’ahi lost the hit quality and the fascinating darkness of the last two albums. The atmospheric build ups that began songs on Raven in the Grave are almost nonexistent and only a couple of songs truly stand out.
Don’t get me wrong, Pe’ahi is a Ravenottes album so it’s still sexy as hell and all fuzzed out (although a bit too much at times on “When Night Is Almost Done”). The opening track “Endless Sleeper” hints at the band’s darker side but the static noise of the fuzz makes it less organic and feels forced. “Z boys” has promise and may well end up being my favorite track due to its infectious vocal melody.
Good albums sometimes become great over time and I have a feeling this will be one of them, especially if the last track “Summer” is any indication. From the atmospheric beginning to the “Fuck you you ruined my life” sentiment of lyrics like “I hate your guts why don’t you just die” it’s just a great, great song. – (7/10)