Out of a major label deal for their fourth album, fuzzy Danish noirists The Raveonettes set about cutting an indie furrow with Lust Lust Lust, released through Vice in the US and Fierce Panda in the UK. The distributor may have changed but fans of 2005’s Pretty In Black, 2003’s Chain Gang Of Love and the 2002 debut Whip It On will find plenty here to admire.
Like the long-lost evolutionary point between harmonious US surf pop of the ’60s, The Everley Brothers and the distorted-to-hell guitar fuzz of The Jesus & Mary Chain, Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo’s music occupies a place of clattering drum echoes and vocal harmonies that, contemporarily, sits them aside Asobi Seksu and Howling Bells – a smidgen shoegaze, a tiny bit film noir, but definitely creatures of the night.
None of this record’s tracks lasts longer than four minutes but the pop sizes do not indicate obvious singles. Rather the record hangs together as a sonic whole of scuzzed-up filthiness, a case made for albums being sold as complete units rather than in iTunes slices. Aly, Walk With Me sets the mood, a reverb-laden dirge that recalls Death In Vegas‘s Dirge. A bass loop underpins what ranges from sparse harmonics to an all-out sonic assault of guitar feedback. Although not an obvious single, it is a stand-out.
Hallucinations highlights the vocal harmonies, Sharin Foo’s dead-from-drugs voice one part a come-on, the other a warning. Lust’s line “I fell in love in heaven to be with you in hell” typifies an underlying sense of doom entered into voluntarily in the name of the carnal – the participants, knowing their fate, are powerless to prevent the inevitable. Dead Sound and The Beat Dies emphasise further the relationship between life, in all its lusty messiness, and death. And yet Dead Sound isn’t beyond twinkly glocks shimmering over the soup. If there’s a criticism it’s that too much of the album sounds too similar, in instrumentation, in vocal harmonies, in rhythm. Several of these songs are interchangeable – formulaic, even.
But if this album was a fashion show it’d be dressed in tight black leather trousers. In its resigned, droning dirginess it’s palpably filthy, though life-affirmingly so. The half-lit world of The Raveonettes, on this form, needn’t change much. Lust Lust Lust is a record that explains why sometimes guitars need to be turned up to their max and faced into amps, and why humans need to get down and dirty. As such, as a homage to lust, Lust Lust Lust works just fine as it is.