The Raveonettes @ KCLSU, London, November 2007

Similar sounding retro rock standard after retro rock standard. Riding on the back of a rampant feedback serpent, The Raveonettes prove that pleasure really can be that straight-forward.

It really doesn’t matter what The Raveonettes played tonight. Every song they did play was as painted-on tight, pitch and metronome perfect, bulbous, hip-shaking and as don’t-stare-straight-at-it-put-your-sunglasses-on-god-damn-it gleaming as the next. And indeed the last, and the one before that. And so on. And their back catalogue in itself (four albums old now you know) is a text-book example of formulaically efficient and wide-mouthed noise-pop wonder – even if they’ve indulged a tendency to toy with the template from time to time (last album ‘Pretty In Black’ was made less memorable than the rest largely for that very reason – the back-alley rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Love In A Trashcan’ aside) then it is beaten into shape live by an unhidden desire to pound your senses into a dizzy ear-ringing delirium via reconditioned rock ‘n’ roll excesses, riding clichés like a banshee unsaddled on the back of a rampant feedback serpent.

Their very reason for existence, and certainly for being here tonight, is to play similar sounding retro rock standard after retro rock standard, with the EQ pushed through the roof, on all channels, on all occasions. Because pleasure really can be that straight-forward. And as simple as that sounds, they pull it off with such unmatched class and icy cool that it feels like only they could possibly pull it off. It does help though that just-released album ‘Lust Lust Lust’ (yes, how very them) is an irresistible hark back to ‘Chain Gang of Love’s glorious simplicity – 60s beat group harmonies vs. The Big Noise. And that’s that. In fact classic single ‘That Great Love Sound’ and current release ‘Dead Sound’, played back to back, segue into one another in spite of their subtle recorded differences like separated Siamese twins re-stitched and embracing hard.

This also, aside from illustrating just how up to standard the new stuff is, highlights the importance of their pared-down live set up. It’s just the two of them (Sune Wagner and Sharin Foo – both on guitars, microphone, classic poses and meticulously styled haircuts), backing track and touring drummer Leah Shapiro, who stands upright with snare and floor tom at her disposal (you know, kind of like Bobby Gillespie in the early Jesus & Mary Chain – as if they need that point ramming home any harder) staring straight ahead, rarely blinking from what we can tell, whacking out tireless beats like a jerky shop mannequin awoken in a retro boutique, pressing each song firmly into check. There is thus a feeling of standardisation, but consistency should not be overrated and these songs run like the trains in Zurich.

Even when Sharin warns us that they’re about to “kill the party” with ‘The Beat Dies’, a more abstract and detached approach, the drums still thump through in the end, jump-starting your spine, keeping it on the tracks and readying you for the wash of feedback that leaves you as numb by the end as the rest do. So it really didn’t matter what The Raveonettes played tonight, and what they did you couldn’t fit a peroxide hair between.

Set List

Dead Sound
That Great Love Sound
Let’s Rave On
With My Eyes Closed
Here Comes Mary
Red Tan
Love in a Trashcan
Attack of the Ghost Riders
My Tornado
Expelled from Love
Black Satin
Noisy Summer
French Disko
(Stereolab cover)
Aly, Walk with MeEncore:
The Christmas Song
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