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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Raveonettes - Chain Gang Of Love (CD)

The Raveonettes – Chain Gang Of Love (CD)


Sound: B     Music: B-



Why is it when a band brags about not writing songs over three minutes long, the listening public is supposed to care?  If I had a dollar for everytime I read this boast in a magazine, I'd have enough money to put a down payment on a new car.  The truth is that size doesn't matter in rock 'n roll.  Quantity, not quality.  I mean, "Good Vibrations" is three-and-a-half minutes, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is six minutes, and "Concierto De Arajunez" is nineteen minutes. . . and they're all great songs.


The Raveonettes, two cute kids from Denmark, are a band that dares to keep their songs concise.  Not only do they avoid the dreaded three-minute mark like the plague, they decided to write all the songs on Chain Gang Of Love, their first full-length release, in the key of B-flat major.  Suffice to say, if you hate bands whose songs all the sound the same, stay the hell away from The Raveonettes, because even 33 minutes (the length of the CD) of their music will tire you out.


However, one should give these folks some credit for their timbre.  For those who don't know, timbre is the texture of the music.  The duo has engineered a sound and timbre that comes off like a tribute to the history of recorded music.  They've got the cavernous surf guitar (without surf guitar shredding, though) and fuzz bass tone from the early-to-mid 60s.  They've got bits of white noise that remind of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, and bored vocal deliveries that recall that mid-1990s alternative/underground in all its glory.  It's an intense mélange.  Their lyrics are all inarticulation ("I wanna find some words to say" on "Untamed Girls"), street life, and the red-light district ("Remember" and "The Truth About Johnny").  There is plenty of space on "Chain Gang" for talk about love: four songs with "love" in the title.  "Love" is to the Raveonettes what "party" is to Andrew W.K.


The PCM CD sound is good for what we can expect from 16bit/44.1kHz limits can deliver today, but this CD has something in its layers that will not always allow it to play clearly on all CD, CD-ROM, DVD and DVD-ROM players.  This could be copyright protection of some sort, so keep your receipt if you have any trouble.


Ah, but is it any good?  Well, The Raveonettes are a "critic's favorite" the world over, if that means anything.  But over the course of Chain Gang's thirteen songs, I couldn't help but feel pummeled by their massive sound.  They don't have a Spector-esque wall of sound, but a cave full of echo and noise.  If you like retro rock with Velvet Underground-tinged lyrics, then The Raveonettes are for you.  Perhaps the positive reaction to this album will inspire the band to attempt songs in other keys.



-   Michael J. Farmer


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