Quick Review (LP): Raven in the Grave by The Raveonettes

The Raveonettes
Raven in the Grave
Vice; 2011

My Rating: B (64/100)

Best Tracks: "Recharge & Revolt", "War In Heaven", "Ignite"

Goth and the 50’s teen heartbreak pop find each other.

NOTES

  • It all sounds like a big, long teenage death song, sort of like that cover Pearl Jam did a few years back.
  • Very reminiscent of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but I like this group’s vocals better.
  • "Recharge & Revolt" is a really cool tune.
  • "War In Heaven" is deliciously dark. It would have been at home on any album released by The Cure up to Disintegration.
  • Also, I am reminded of I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, especially on gothier tracks like "War In Heaven."
  • "Ignite" features some really appealing guitar work, but then there are those damn whispery vocals again. Why?
  • Love the aesthetic of this group, but the songs don’t quite make it over the top.
  • Also, I really dig the concept, but I’d like to have seen the group take it further.
  • I think Pitchfork gets this one right. There are things to like about this record, but the joy-o-meter registers a bit low. I wonder if these two are a little too obsessed with being fashionable?

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (4/5)
Concept (4.5/5)
Consequence (3.5/5)
Consistency (4/5)
Songs (4/5)

Tracks of the Decade: “Star Witness” by Neko Case

“Star Witness”
by Neko Case
from FOX CONFESSOR BRINGS THE FLOOD
Curiously, the most disputed lyric in the song “Star Witness” is also the only lyric omitted from the official listing on Neko Case’s website. I’m pretty sure it goes something like “Hey there, there are such deadly [dandy] wolves round tonight, round the town tonight,” but by keeping the song’s chorus shrouded in mystery, Case achieves the numinous here, a great and rare achievement in pop music. The album on which we find “Star Witness”, FOX CONFESSOR BRINGS THE FLOOD, is undoubtedly one of the most under-lauded records of the decade, an intense waking dream exploring the ethereal twilight of the Old South. Besides Case’s typically star-shattering vocals, the track’s standout performance is Paul Rigby’s watery guitar figure. Rigby simultaneously brings a powerful warmth and a nostalgic sadness to the affair, transcending what might otherwise have been too reminiscent of Wayne Cochran’s “Last Kiss”, re-popularized a few yars back by Pearl Jam. There’s some really impressive imagery here, recalling classic Springsteen like “Thunder Road” (“My nightgown sweeps the pavement clean”) and
“Stolen Car” (“My true love drowned in a dirty old pan of oil that did run from the block of a Falcon Sedan 1969”). But am I even sure what Neko is singing about? Nope, not a clue. All that really matters is that “Star Witness” is gorgeous as hell, the kind of utterly visionary work of art that crashes into your consciousness and makes its home like an old wreck on the highway.

neko case“Star Witness”
by Neko Case
from FOX CONFESSOR BRINGS THE FLOOD (2006)

Curiously, the most disputed lyric in the song “Star Witness” is also the only lyric omitted from the official listing on Neko Case’s website. I’m pretty sure it goes something like “Hey there, there are such deadly [dandy] wolves round tonight, round the town tonight,” but by keeping the song’s chorus shrouded in mystery, Case achieves the numinous here, a great and rare achievement in pop music. The album on which we find “Star Witness”, FOX CONFESSOR BRINGS THE FLOOD, is undoubtedly one of the most under-lauded records of the decade, an intense waking dream exploring the ethereal twilight of the Old South. Besides Case’s typically star-shattering vocals, this track’s standout performance is Paul Rigby’s watery guitar figure. Rigby simultaneously brings a powerful warmth and a nostalgic sadness to the affair, transcending what might otherwise have been too reminiscent of Wayne Cochran’s “Last Kiss”, re-popularized a few years back by Pearl Jam. There’s some really impressive imagery here, recalling classic Springsteen like “Thunder Road” (“My nightgown sweeps the pavement clean”) and “Stolen Car” (“My true love drowned in a dirty old pan of oil that did run from the block of a Falcon Sedan 1969”). But am I even sure what Neko is singing about? Nope, not a clue. All that really matters is that “Star Witness” is gorgeous as hell, the kind of utterly visionary work of art that crashes into your consciousness and makes its home like an old wreck on the highway. File this under SOUTHERN GOTHIC; I think Flannery would be proud.

download from her website for free