To this point in their career, Denmark’s the Raveonettes have been an excellent, underrated singles act that hasn’t found a way to take their distinctive sound and their first-rate pop smarts and combine them into a fully cohesive album. Awash in heavy reverb and in-the-red treble, and drawing heavily from ‘60s surf-pop, Lust Lust Lust, the duo’s fourth album, shakes and wriggles within a self-defined aesthetic that’s perfectly suited to tales of the dirtiest of the deadly sins. It’s the interplay between the production and the songwriting that gives the album a real sense of depth, the way repeated bursts of distortion take an otherwise maudlin sentiment like “Aly, walk right out of my dreams/Into my arms” and give it a palpable menace on opener “Aly, Walk With Me.” Lead single “Dead Sound” is anything but, pulsing with a rapid heartbeat and beautiful pop melody as it offers up a view of relationships (“And now you go through a million girls/And try to pick what’s right/When nightfall comes and you’re still alone/Do you feel it deep inside?”) that borders on nihilistic. “You Want the Candy,” which subtly co-opts the melody of the Monotones’ classic “(Who Wrote) The Book of Love” for much of its bassline, is a filthier, sarcastic second-person revision of Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy” and is arguably the standout track. As is the case with their previous records, most every song here could work as a standalone single, but Lust marks such development for the band in the way that the songs work as a whole. By stripping away some of the glossier studio polish of their past two records (2005’s Pretty in Black in particular), the Raveonettes have finally, spectacularly asserted themselves as artists of real vision. These songs don’t sound like love songs because they aren’t love songs. That the Raveonettes understand why that’s an important distinction makes Lust Lust Lust a sleazy pop masterpiece.
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