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The Raveonettes resurrect retro 

New album, new sound for duo

The Raveonettes like dead people--not all of them, though. It's just dead rockers like Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers and Richie Valens that the Danish duo of Sharin Foo and Sune Wagner have a fondness for. While most people of her generation think that the '70s is retro and the '50s is prehistoric, 29-year-old Foo feels a connection with the music. "It's so catchy. If you listen to a chorus from the Ronettes or the Shangri-Las or the Marvellettes, it makes you want to like--yahh," she sighs. "I just love that music."

The Raveonettes show their love by paying homage to the music, aping the Everly Brothers' "All I Have To Do Is Dream" with their own composition "Here Comes Mary." "It's very deliberate," Foo says. Partner Wagner also wrote a song fit for the King: "'The Heavens' was really written for Elvis to sing. Had he been alive we would have wanted him to sing it." Even Phil Spector and his girl groups get a nod in "Ode to L.A."

But it's the recent change in their sound that's gotten them a load of media attention. In their previous incarnation as a duo, they had sung in a monotonous drone, creating comparisons to the Jesus & Mary Chain. Of their two previous albums, one was recorded entirely in b-flat major the other in b-flat minor. Their latest, Pretty In Black, boasts a beefed up crew--up to five Raveonettes for a fuller sound, with help from '60s and '70s icons Ronnie Spector, the Velvet Underground's percussionist Mo Tucker and Suicide's Martin Rev.

They also tried a different singing style. "Where previously we would sing almost as one voice, now we try and approach it like Nancy [Sinatra] and Lee [Hazelwood] or Mickie and Sylvia, that kind of boy and girl playing around," Foo says.

They're not through playing with time travel yet. Many artists they've been covering, including Eddie Cochran, whose "C'mon Everybody" is on their live set list, have sizeable catalogues. "We see it as kind of a quest," Foo says, "to see that thing alive, to have kids listen to that music because we're inspired by that, then they want to go back and find what we're inspired by and find this great music."

The Raveonettes play the Cat's Cradle Friday, May 27 at 10:45 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance, $14 at the door. Snatches of Pink open at 8 p.m., followed by The Peels and Autolux.

  • New album, new sound for duo

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