It takes a lot to excite me these days, but when I heard the Raveonettes were releasing their second full-length, my ears perked up. Chain Gang of Love, which came out two years ago, mostly resembled the Jesus and Mary Chain (one track was an exact replica of ï¿½Head Onï¿½), but the album was so damn catchy. With Pretty in Black, the Raveonettes have taken on the surfer route — crunchy guitars and rat-a-tat drums mixed in with sixties pop. The result? The perfect antique Cadillac album.
You can say theyï¿½re part of the Scandinavian invasion, but the Raveonettes — Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo — take a retro look at American music, drawing on a variety of themes; it’s almost as if Pulp Fiction should be cited as a major influence. But "Somewhere in Texas" and "You Say You Lie," which have a spaghetti western feel, are nice departures.
Named in homage to Buddy Hollyï¿½s greatest rocker, the Raveonettes forged small, satisfying changes on twangy garage pop over three records, but the duoï¿½s influences have never been more explicit. The album includes a sexy cover of the Angelsï¿½ girl-group monster "My Boyfriendï¿½s Back" (co-written by co-producer Richard Gottehrer) and "Here Comes Mary," a ballad that walks almost as closely in the melodic steps of the Everly Brothersï¿½ "All I Have to Do is Dream" as "Surfinï¿½ U.S.A." did those of "Sweet Little Sixteen." (You can almost picture Julie Newmar with the cat glasses doing the mashed potato.) But itï¿½s the new tricks they unpack — the shimmy of "Love in a Trashcan," the disco stomp of "Twilight" — that make this their own music.
And thatï¿½s whatï¿½s worth perking your ears up for.