“Whip it on” is the debut EP from The Raveonettes. They are a two piece act from Denmark that many people expect to be the next big thing. Having said this, I expected to hate this album. But it’s very clear to me that it is truly something special and different.
Their sound is unique and distinctive. Listening to this EP, some of their influences become instantly obvious, while others are surprisingly subtle. They list among their influences, The Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and the Cramps. The similarity to Sonic Youth is perhaps the first thing that sticks out. And while they remind me of Sonic Youth in many ways, I feel they have more mainstream appeal. They bring punk and pop to the cacophonous symphony of feedback and electric guitars. Only 3 songs on this EP break the 3 minute mark, and that works very well for me. They combine the short attention span of punk with the crazy experimentalism of art rock.
Sune Rose Wagner provides the lead male vocals which are somber, haunting, and methodical, like a steady drumbeat. All of the vocals are accompanied step for step by the female vocalist, Sharin Foo. They don’t sing the type of harmony you might be accustomed to; they sing what they call a “boy-girl” vocal technique. It’s essentially the two of them singing the exact same lyrics and melody in different octaves. This dual vocal technique gives it a creepy quality that is dark and sexy and sure to be their trademark.
This album transports you to a Mad Max sort of dystopia. The guitars sound like 60’s surf rock from an alternate universe, the vocals are restrained and haunting, and all of this is backed by swells of feedback and a hissing, screeching symphony of industrial noises and sound effects. This voyage to another world ends like a B movie with the final track, “Beat City” conjuring images of a beat-up old Cadillac driving across the desert. Sune’s professed inspiration, the drive through the deserts outside L.A. shines through crystal clear.
This is an amazing EP. They were on a mission to bring us something different and they did it masterfully. With 8 tracks, it seems long for an EP. At 21:39, it goes by much too quickly. The Raveonettes are an amazing new band and this EP will barely be enough to hold you over until they release their full length album.
Best tracks: “Attack Of The Ghost Riders”, “Veronica Fever”, “Chains” and “Beat City.”
Watch the video for “Attack Of The Ghost Riders,” along with some live performances from The Mercury Lounge in NYC in their video section.