The Raveonettes – Pe’ahi Review

The Raveonettes have always been that fuzzy guitared, Lo-Fi constant that has been so for the around twelve years now. Each album is a minor alteration of that or a little exploration while carrying that classic and truer Indie sound to the point where they are almost the modern day guardians of it. Instead of coupling that sound with a transparent image or bravado, their songs are filled with emotional depths, peaks and vulnerabilities. Their ability to channel that out of their music has always set them apart from the meat-headed guitar thrashers. Their new album Pe’ahi is the follow up from 2012’s Observatory; their seventh studio album has a darker and more painful lyrical focus.
‘Endless Sleeper’ opens with that typical clicking percussion before falling onto a spaced out and rotating riff which is made more far off and soaring by the washed out vocals of the verses. On the chorus the guitar provides a fuzz laden drive behind the light, airy, yet purposeful vocals for a completely washed out and spread sound, that it is almost impossible to grasp without the timid hook you get from the vocals. It is still a very solid song which is bold in it’s rise and fall of sounds, but you do feel like the wondrous, spacious production of the verses had much more potential than what was delivered in the chorus in how so much more could have been done with the space they had produced. What they didn’t pull off with that track, they got right with ‘Sisters’. It immediately hits you with the whirring and vibrating guitars set against a more clear and direct structure of percussion. This is layered lightly with swooning and haunting background vocals and a murky harp-like sound which gives you something to grasp out from the song. The constant clash of the empty sounds of the harp sounds and swooning vocals are continuous, but are quite wonderfully delicate when left on their own to be swept up abruptly by the wall of distortion of the chorus. A song that manipulates the sound transitions with no mercy. Going all out to give you no time to blissfully settle with the sound and so keeps you savouring each segment before you know it will alter again. The best track off the album.
‘Killer In The Streets’ features a Marr-like riff with all it’s fluidity and distinction. This set above a more up to date and modern structure of percussion along with a low lying bass line. The vocals softly guide you across the song’s direct and unrelenting kick and intention. It’s track with a great hook and melody along with some un-raveonette like harmonies. The balance of bold and soft edged elements here is key to making the melodies and rhythms more pronounced and it works to a good end. ‘Summer Ends’ reverts back to the straight out distorted wall of sound, yet it is made a little more interesting through the light and optimistic sounding song progression and pop-like vocals, delivered with a cool, easy attitude. The second half of the song features more contours and changes of structures and rhythms to a slower and more considered version of the first half of the song which adds to the dramatics and deliberately leaves you a little cold after the pop tinged rhythms you experienced earlier in the track. ‘Wake Me Up’ are tracks driven by percussion arrangements and the whispy, airy vocals that are strung together by an offset piano and bass line. An eerie track that almost crawls along mysteriously. ‘Z-Boys’ is another traditional bit of Raveonettes fodder with the whispered vocals against the waves of distorted guitars that are strung together by a fluid lead riff. That is the Raveonettes sound and has been since 2002, but you feel with a few more efforts like ‘Sisters’ and ‘Summer Ends’, then the Copenhagen duo might have had a great album on their hands as opposed to a good album. But in that sense they have struck the balance between their die hard fans and their new fans.
The Raveonettes – Pe’ahi = 7.5/10