The Raveonettes - "Aly, Walk With Me" (Lust Lust Lust)
Has any advancement in pop music stayed as cool for as long as the Wall of Sound? That sound brings very real images to the backs of the eyes: sex, death, chrome, vistas, smoke, streaks of light, perhaps love, or realistically, a feral lust. It has imposed itself into visual art, achieving synaesthesia in a way that’s circled kitsch and back to its starting point. It is as it seems; all we want is reverb and gloss, a mountain of sound-as-emotion swelling up beneath us, injecting in our veins that feeling that travels to the pits of our stomachs, that ache in the chest. You feel it once, but it always goes sour, then you never want to feel it again. You make dares with yourself to go through it all again, just to see if it’s the same, or even bigger than before, big enough that it threatens to close off your windpipe and you suffocate from love.
You can thank the Raveonettes for inspiring such verbal largesse. You can also thank them for all but starting over with their sound on Lust Lust Lust, effectively divorcing both the major label bloat, and the absurd constraints self-imposed on their efforts in that medium (B-flat? Come on.). They’re still pop, still at the foot of Spector’s wall and still writing songs that seat them as crash test dummies that ram it over and over, knowing full well that it won’t fall down. The Jesus and Mary Chain stress-tested that joint two decades back. It’s not going anywhere.
Following five minutes of jet-engine torture in “Aly, Walk With Me,” Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo get down to it: gorgeous melodies, gorged on white noise; triple-tracked vocals over a hopscotch bounce (“Sad Transmission”), breathing life into “Dead Sound,” bouncing as it does with ‘50s sock hop as channeled through ‘70s glam then ‘80s fuzz that could stare through a steel door; fiberglass pink and black trim lacquer and wax and fixative and finish in “You Want the Candy.” And so it goes, over and over and over, a record that must end, even though it shouldn’t, a dare in your head to start it from the beginning to see if that feeling comes back from that can-shake in “The Beat Dies,” retooling Angelo Badalamenti’s “Falling” for their own divine purposes.
Make no mistake: Lust Lust Lust is the best The Raveonettes have ever been. By returning to the kernel of an idea they’re obviously infatuated with, they’ve effectively outpaced their class of ’02 rock set, simply by existing, turning down and tuning up. No advancements in pop music have outlasted the Wall, or stayed so important to so many for so long. That’s because its practitioners can’t desecrate it. Any action perpetrated on its infinitely-excessive surface, short of turning down – and really, who the fuck is gonna do that – only proves its strength all the more.