The Raveonettes in Sensurround

The Raveonettes in Sensurround
Photograph by Ken Grand-Pierre

"Those were the days," singer-bassist Sharin Foo said in a cool whisper at Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg on April 21st, after the Raveonettes tore through a double shot of their 2002 debut EP, Whip It On – "My Tornado" and "Attack of the Ghost Riders." In fact, these are the days for the Danish duo. Outfitted with a fine new album, Raven in the Grave (Vice) and a furious new live attack – a brilliantly constructed, sensurround compound of slicing surf-treble jangle, deep-water reverb and digital triggered menace, driven by the stereo momentum of two drummers – Foo and singer-guitarist-songwriter Sune Rose Wagner have hit a new peak in their decade-long fusion of shadows and lightning.

Backstage after the show, Wagner said he originally envisioned the Raveonettes as a twin-beat quartet on stage, even before the EP. The wait, though, was worth it. The show featured nearly the whole of Raven in the Grave, a record of pop opposites – noise and sighs – bound by curt hooks, in chant-like choruses. "Recharge and Revolt" opened the set like Phil Spector's idea of an early Jesus and Mary Chain single; "My Time's Up" ended it with eternally teenage fatalism and a Fifties-ladies-choice guitar figure.

But the transformation was best heard in the early whirls, like those Whip It Up numbers and the serrated assault of "Love in a Trash Can" from 2005's Pretty in Black: vicious blurs of vintage-pop and post-punk action, with the details – Wagner and Foo's signature harmonies, his Ventures-swordplay solo in "Trash Can" – cutting through the volume. A band built on the power and purity of two, the Raveonettes sounded like more than four in performance – and better than ever.

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David Fricke

Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke has more than 10,000 albums in his New York apartment. His first record review for the magazine was Frank Zappa's 'Sheik Yerbouti' (RS 290).

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