“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.