The Raveonettes

Pretty in Black (Columbia)

On 2003's The Chain Gang of Love, The Raveonettes more or less re-created the Jesus and Mary Chain's discography for people who weren't aware Rhino had already released a JAMC best-of, 21 Singles, a year earlier. William and Jim Reid could have sued The Raveonettes for royalties and the case would have taken just over 33 minutes, the run time of Chain Gang. This time around, however, Danish duo Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo (fun game: guess which one is the girl) made a good record instead of remaking a great one. Their take on Psychocandy and Automatic is pretty much absent on Pretty in Black (save for their approach to a cover of The Angels' girl-group classic "My Boyfriend's Back"), replaced by the lazy, hazy sound of the band moping around "Somewhere in Texas." With the help of a more traditional guitar-bass-drums lineup, Wagner and Foo have created a soundtrack to a film noir set in the West (possibly John Dahl's Red Rock West), the kind of tape that would be playing in the conflicted hero's convertible as he speeds along the badlands away from a dead body and a bunch of questions from the local sheriff. It's a better fit for the group: Foo's thin voice becomes ethereal in that setting, and Wagner's minimalist songs finally echo the '50s B-movie imagery he worked so hard to cultivate on Chain Gang. And they won't have to hire a lawyer, either.

 
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