By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Outside of the despicable Aqua's repulsive "Barbie Girl," Denmark has not been known for producing any notable music. That is, until now: Enter the Raveonettes, who are among the new school of Danish musicians (along with Junior Senior) creatively reinterpreting familiar musical archetypes. These clever Danes--Sune Rose Wagner (boy) and Sharin Foo (girl)--take their ideas from American music history and innovatively package them for resale back to the United States.
Chain Gangis in a similar vein to the group's debut EP, Whip It On, which at 20 minutes in length is only 10 minutes shorter than the full-length. Though originally intended for release as a complementary mini-album to Whip It On, it sounds just fine on its own. Fuzzy but jagged feedback reminiscent of the Cramps and the Jesus and Mary Chain powers "The Great Love Sound" and "New York Was Great," while the spirit of the Ronettes and the Go-Go's can be heard on "Little Animal" and "Noisy Summer" in the duo's unique twin harmonies.
Despite the musical restrictions they impose on themselves, the Raveonettes wring the most out of their instruments. Their dense, distorted elements are squeezed into dark, pop-friendly, bite-sized morsels such as on "The Truth About Johnny," which could be taken as a cold and eerie interpretation of the bubblegum and poodle-skirted "Johnny Angel," except their construction and delivery of the song comes off as easy yet powerful. The Raveonettes may borrow liberally from varied sources, but what they come up with is distinctly different. A reactionary comeback against the overproduced and stylized music of today, they reduce their influences to the bare minimum, skirting complexity and opting for simplicity instead.
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