Denmark's Raveonettes show us what they like on 'In and Out of Control'

Four albums in, the Raveonettes are still more comfortable sharing what they like — Phil Spector, film noir, fuzz pedals, the Jesus and Mary Chain, “Twin Peaks” and a hyper-stylized vision of American teenage culture between the years of 1956 and, say, 1963 — than what they are like.

That’s assuming, of course, there’s more to the Danish duo of Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner than the cartoon rebel personas they adopt in their songs.

The pair’s latest, “In and Out of Control” (Vice), offers 11 tracks of what fans have by now come to expect: waves of guitar static, switchblade-sharp lead riffs, robotic “Be My Baby” beats, coy girl-group lyrics and vocal harmonies so leather-pants tight it’s seldom clear whether a song is being sung from the male or the female point of view.

In keeping with the Raves’ overall career trajectory, this latest collection is the band’s smoothest and most accessible yet. The melodies are gooier than those on 2008’s excellent “Lust Lust Lust,” and there’s really only one song, “Break Up Girls,” that packs the kind of mega-distorted wallop found on the duo’s debut, “Chain Gang of Love.”

Lyrically, Foo and Wagner are still interested in superimposing present-day edginess on the idyllic backdrop of early-‘60s America. On “Suicide,” they convince the type of bummed-out girl the Shangri-Las once sang about to run away from home and get herself some New York City kicks. After all, juvenile delinquency is better than offing yourself, especially when you’re young and pretty.

“Suicide” speaks to the disc’s female-empowerment bent, which is also evident on “Break Up Girls” and “Boys Who Rape Should All Be Destroyed.” These, perhaps more than any of the other songs, even the post-overdose melodrama “Last Dance,” grounds the Raves in the modern age.

To be sure, their brand of ’60s revisionism has grown quite predictable, but like the work of David Lynch, arguably their biggest influence, they continue to wring great art from the juxtaposition of innocence and danger.

— Kenneth Partridge

Last Dance mp3

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