platters (2008-10)

Lust, Language, and a Whip

Danish noise-pop due The Raveonettes work out their kinks

The Raveonettes Lust Lust Lust (VICE)

One senses something approaching outright cheerfulness in the way Danish duo the Raveonettes mine the darker side of the human psyche for the unsavory raw materialsâ"pain, obsession, deviancy, love gone terribly wrongâ"that serve as foundation for their weirdly ravishing brand of refigured noise pop. Their new album, after all, is brazenly titled Lust Lust Lust, as if singer-guitarist Sune Rose Wagner and bassist/vocalist Sharin Foo take a certain wicked satisfaction in slapping the rest of us square in the face with the fact of their unseemly preoccupations.

But God bless their twisted little hearts for having the moxie to own up to their kinks, because the Raveonettesâ’ eloquently simple, reverb-laden three-chord guitar-pop suites shimmer, stir, and haunt and bring lifeâ’s pitiless beauty into agonizing and rapturous focus like nothing else in indie rock today. Lust is cut from the same cloth as 2005â’s Pretty in Blackâ"dark and moody, sometimes even sad, yet leavened with the occasional salacious interlude (â“Lust,â” â“You Want the Candyâ”) to remind us that even the Danesâ’ darkest broods were likely crafted in the throes of some daft glee.

But what was missing from Pretty in Black, and what has thankfully returned on Lust Lust Lust, is the duoâ’s abiding fondness for unadulterated, unapologetic noiseâ"the sort of proto-industrial hallelujah feedback din, cribbed from the Velvets and Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, that can serve the songs as either texture and coloration, or as a galvanizing central core. With the onset of nearly every cut on Lust, Wagnerâ’s howling amps launch into veritable symphonies of epiphanic chaos in the background. Itâ’s a rude sort of clangor, messy, ragged, unsettling, and oh, so terrible in its beauty. In other words, the kind of thing that brings a smile to your face. If youâ’re the twisted sort, that is. (Mike Gibson)

School of Language Sea From Shore (Thrill Jockey)

Considering the extremely recentâ"and most likely temporaryâ"break-up of his band Field Music, English songwriter David Brewis had two main avenues to go down with his new project, School of Language. It would either be the stick-with-what-works approach, or the more daring but equally common completely-new-direction strategy.

With the opening tracks of Sea From Shore, it seems, at first, like Brewis has chosen the latter. Using a layered loop of randomly pronounced vowel sounds, â“Rockist, Part 1â” and â“Rockist, Part 2â” (as well as their album-closing counterparts) have all the marks of an experimental, half-serious side project. Brewis handles variations on a theme well, taking the same vocal loop through some clever transformations in rhythm and mood. Nonetheless, it comes as quite a relief when Sea From Shore slides into something much more akin to a Field Music album.

With help from a couple of members of the similarly minded Futureheads, Brewis manages to showcase his knack for unconventional catchiness again, combining slick, New Wave pop production with a prog-ish, off-beat rhythm section. It sounds like XTC jamming with Pinback, and it works, particularly on the energetic â“Poor Boyâ” and â“This Is No Fun.â” (Andrew Clayman)

Flogging Molly Float (SideOneDummy)

Early reviews of Flogging Mollyâ’s 2004 album Within a Mile of Home described it as having two doses of studio slickness for every dose of sweet Irish rage. The attention to engineering-level detail on the disc distilled the bandâ’s sound, making it not angrier but better.

But the same fans foolish enough to find fault with Home will duly raise hell after listening to Float. If Home was a collection of anthems for a revolution that never came, Float is a series of dirges lamenting that lack. Floatâ’s biggest deviation isnâ’t in the ratio of angry fight songs to sad drinking songs, but in the absence of contrast between them. Flogging Mollyâ’s slowest burn to date, Floatâ’s indignation is still there, but songs like â“Man With No Countryâ” and â“No More Paddyâ’s Lamentâ” trade in Mollyâ’s angrier delivery for a softer, more melodic tone, while â“Us of Lesser Godsâ” and â“The Story So Farâ” evoke alt-country more than alt-punk. Float matures the Molly sound, freely mixing and matching themes without anything separating the furious from the forlorn. (Dave Prince)


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