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 materials—pain, obsession, deviancy, love gone terribly wrong—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 Raveonettes’ eloquently simple, reverb-laden three-chord guitar-pop suites shimmer, stir, and haunt and bring life’s pitiless beauty into agonizing and rapturous focus like nothing else in indie rock today. Lust is cut from the same cloth as 2005’s Pretty in Black—dark and moody, sometimes even sad, yet leavened with the occasional salacious interlude (“Lust,” “You Want the Candy”) to remind us that even the Danes’ 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 duo’s abiding fondness for unadulterated, unapologetic noise—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, Wagner’s howling amps launch into veritable symphonies of epiphanic chaos in the background. It’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 you’re the twisted sort, that is.