Album review: The Raveonettes - Observator

The cult, monochrome-guitar duo discover beauty in pain - and the piano - on their diverting sixth album.

Bookies would have offered long odds on New York-based Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner’s Raveonettes surviving 10 years.

Their gloriously rough, overdriven guitars, reverb fetish and noir-ish retroism quickly found a cult following, but their narrow sonic identity left little creative wiggle room.

The main change a decade on is a downshift in tempo and bluster.

Having been diagnosed with clinical depression, Sune relocated to Los Angeles, only to find a ‘wicked loneliness’ in the west coast.


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But even this cloud finds a silver lining. The yearning, lovelorn opener Young And Cold is heartbreaking but beautiful with its depiction of ‘so many restless souls’ over semi-acoustic guitar and sparing piano.

Its prevailingly downcast atmosphere isn’t bereft of humanity. The delicate Curse The Night has a certain poise, and Till The End is a strong sign-off that hints at their lush art-pop days.

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And their monochrome aesthetic finds colour, too - initially pallid but warmed by Sinking With The Sun’s jangly guitar motif, while the fuzzed-up Downtown is a simple, chipper highlight.

Not essential, but Observator proves they’ve more left in the tank.

3 stars

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