The up-and-coming Danish twosome The Raveonettes meld the bouncing harmonies of '60s girl groups with the gritty streetwise aesthetic of downtown New York cult bands like the Velvet Underground and Suicide and the noisy, droning atmospherics of U.K. noise rock bands like Spacemen 3 and the Jesus & Mary Chain.
The reemergence of girl/guy duos and the revival of the NYC punk rock glory days are both phenomena in full swing. That's not necessarily bad if it helps The Raveonettes, one of the newest acts to appear in magazines and on college radio. The duo's Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo hail from Copenhagen, Denmark, where they were discovered by Rolling Stone editor David Fricke, who wrote after seeing them that he was "falling head over heels for a new band at first sight." After being courted by numerous labels, the band signed to Columbia and entered an NYC studio in 2002 with legendary producer Richard Gottehrer to begin work on their debut album. With a resume full of classic recordings like "I Want Candy" and "My Boyfriend's Back" and classic albums by Blondie and The Go-Go's, Gottehrer was a perfect choice of the duo, which is obviously influenced by much of his past work. But while The Raveonettes' sound is can easily be traced to its origins, it's impossible to deny the duo's impeccable delivery which mixes the noise and drone of bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain and Spacemen 3 with an even heavier influence of 60?s pop reminiscent of The Shangri-Las, Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" and The Velvet Underground's Loaded. Foo and Wagner offer no apologies for their influences, instead reveling in them with lyrics like "holding me down to that sultry '60s sound."
The Raveonettes introduced themselves to the world in the summer of 2002 with an eight-song EP entitled Whip It On on the Danish indie Crunchy Frog Records, then shortly thereafter introduced themselves to New York City with a triumphant debut performance at CBGB's. Inspired by the spontaneous creative process of Jack Kerouac, The Raveonettes wrote the songs on Whip It On quickly and without much revision. However they did impose a number of rules on themselves before recording: first, the songs all had to be in B-flat minor; second, there were to be no more than three chords in any song; third, all songs had to be under three minutes; and fourth, no high hat or ride cymbals were allowed. Working with sampled drums, guitar, and bass, Foo and Wagner agreed to do no overdubs and to record everything in a single take.
The first track of that EP (featured here), titled "Attack of the Ghost Riders," is a nod to one of the great duos to precede and influence The Raveonettes, the legendary Suicide, whose famous self-titled debut opened with the track "Ghost Rider." The Raveonettes' linear production style, with its pulsing white noise foundation, and their neo-Beat aesthetics, display an obvious affinity for the downtown NYC synth-punk godfathers. The duo may wear their influences on their sleeves, but they do so brilliantly.