The Raveonettes – Pretty In Black

a musical gem

a musical gem

For Pretty In Black, the 3rd release from the Danish duo The Raveonettes, they’ve grown up, stripped down and quieted the noise, further maturing their luxuriously eccentric music making.  And for us, less noise does equal more sound.


Pretty In Black is a striking departure from 2002’s Whip it On! and 2003’s Chain Gang of Love.  The new album is filled with epic cowboys tales, dancey trashy surfy garage rock, sweet 1950’s prom hits and of course more B-movie campy alien invasion music.  I don’t miss the noise or grit a bit and I appreciate its classic purity.  Their garage rock fuzz noise is replaced with a new obsessive attention to detail and more specifically to songwriting and production.  The Raveonettes have even invited some of their idols and influences to play on the album, such as Velvet Underground’s drummer Moe Tucker, Martin Rev and the legendary Ronnie Spector.


The first track, The Heavens starts off the album surprisingly calm.  My first thought was, "have The Raveonettes gone acoustic?"  Quickly the album builds and track three hits hard with the first single, Love in A Trashcan.  This song is undoubtedly enticing, it is virtually impossible to not start wiggling to it.  It’s a great little story about groupies and has catchy dirty garage guitar riffs.


Pretty In Black also includes a cover of The Angel’s 1963’s hit My Boyfriend’s Back.  The song is sung solely by Sharin Foo and is very close in tone to the original.  I had heard that the track was first recorded for as a soundtrack to a video game (Stubbs the Zombie) but the band and the label liked it so much that they decided to also include it on the album.  "My boyfriends back, he’s gonna save my reputation, If I were you, I’d take a permanent vacation".  It’s so classic.


Twilight is a noisy 60’s rocky dance number that is one of my new favorite Raveonette songs by far.  It is a sort of nervous new-wave dancey boom-boom that proves yet again that the music making combinations are endless for The Raveonettes. Somewhere in Texas is an epic tale about none other than Texas, and coming from two Danish people seems little strange but the songs laments beautifully and its orchestration is up lifting. You Say You Lie is my favorite track on Pretty In Black.  Its memorizing sound and lyrics are hauntingly catchy.  The song features special guest keyboardist Martin Rev from the late 70’s – early 80’s NYC electro-punk-rock duo by the name of Suicide.


The album release also includes 4 bonus tracks including the famous Raveonettes cover of Buddy Holly’s Everyday.  They used to begin and end each live show with the Buddy Holly Storm as I use to call it.  Also the catchy I Want to Be Taken.


For various personal reasons I HIGHLY recommend picking this album up ASAP.  The Raveonettes have once again impressed us all with their incredible skill of incorporation all of their older musical influences blended together seamlessly to create adventurously new music that we can all learn from.  For myself, as a fan of The Raveonettes already I found Pretty In Black incomparable to the last two releases.  The new album stands on it’s own.  It is clear that The Raveonettes are expanding and maturing as part of their on going metamorphism.  Pretty In Black is a musical gem and belongs in any and every music collection.


Words : Zoe Gottehrer