Danish duo The Raveonettes summon gore on their seventh full-length, Observator. Most of the songs dive into the dark night streets, dabbling in the morose and delirious alike.
Sune Rose Wagner is very upfront about his personal depression and substance abuse around the time of its recording. Booze, drugs, relapse and general life woes plagued Wagner’s head and jerked his creativity hub from New York to Los Angeles and back again. Although the record’s coast-to-coast freneticism is apparent, The Raveonettes recorded the whole dig in just one week flat in LA’s infamous Sunset Sound Studios with Richard Gottehrer (Richard Hell, Link Ray, Blondie).
“Young And Cold” frankly approaches the topic of growing old too quickly. Wagner writes in the album’s news release of a recent back injury and dealing with the immediate mental and physical repercussions. “It’s almost like you’re about to expire,” he says. “Young” blatantly considers romantic issues, hinting at those stretching outside of the love scope. It’s scary to think about growing jaded before the societally pre-determined age. Aren’t we all trying to avoid that, anyway?
I cannot put my finger on why the drums in “Curse The Night” bring to mind Madonna’s Austin Powers jam “Beautiful Stranger,” but it does so in such a vivid way I am obligated to mention it here. Sharin Foo floats vapor vocals to the standout rejection track. It’s cursed in a way that a sticky whiskey bottle may be cursed, especially beneath moonlight.
Using crude brushstrokes to paint the potential cruelty of nightfall, “Sinking With The Sun” sorts out the allure of relapse and succumbing to dangerous temptation. It glints beneath both big cities’ go-go dance club lights, rolling back and forth on dirty ecstasy.
“The Enemy” best captures the beautiful, hopeful melancholy of Observator. In a broad sense, it’s a feeling of betrayal, hazy with tinny guitar and delicate harmonies.
By the time the final cut, “Till The End,” cues up, as a listener, you’re not convinced any permanent changes have happened. There’s an ambiguous commitment to “slow down,” and I hope for Wagner’s sake—and that of noise pop—that he does settle to a comfortable, healthy place.