The video for the Raveonettes' infectious, fuzzy-sweet new single “Candy” features a montage of the Danish duo in the studio, containing footage with a few scantily clad go-go dancers and the band in various states of detached rock-star cool. Other shots feature candy canes arranged on a black table like rows of cocaine, with a razorblade and dusty powder surrounding the candy canes. Clever, and harmless enough. The shot that's raising eyebrows, however, is a mere half-second long: an image of a blonde woman — not singer Sharin Foo — with a rolled-up bill near her nose, about to snort another kind of treat. The video and song, says partner Sune Rose Wagner, are homages to Richard Gottehrer, producer of the Raveonettes' previous album, Pretty in Black, who also penned the Bow Wow Wow hit “I Want Candy.” The difference: Gottehrer's sweet treat was a metaphor for sex, and Wagner made his about nose candy. “I wanted to show what our life's like and what we've experienced and especially what the song's about. It's all about sex, drugs and rock & roll, so who gives a damn?”
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Sharin Foo (right) and Sune Rose Wagner: Waves of melancholy and high doses of noir
Now transplanted to the States — Foo in Los Angeles, Wagner in New York City — the pair land in L.A. this week in support of their fourth release, Lust Lust Lust, the band's first for Vice Records after an unfruitful stint with Columbia. (“We like being on an indie at the moment,” says Wagner.) Self-recorded and self-produced, the new album began as an interactive experiment on MySpace, where Wagner and Foo would regularly post demo versions of songs and rough drafts of lyrics, then solicit feedback from fans. They settled on 12 tracks of the 100 they wrote, somehow managing to avoid the too-many-cooks syndrome while staying true to their distinctively minimal noise-pop sound, layered with heavy distortion and two-part vocal harmonies. This time, though, they added in waves of melancholy and high doses of noir.
The album won't dispel the Raveonettes' long-running comparisons to the Jesus & Mary Chain, Suicide, Buddy Holly, the Beach Boys or any number of '50s and '60s girl groups, but the duo maintain they can't help sounding like the music that influences them. David Lynch gets a big nod, as well. “It's very Lynchesque and we love that, I think he would love it too!!!” Wagner writes on their MySpace blog, referring to “The Beat Dies,” which incorporates the sweetness of Foo's soft voice in a song about the dark underbelly of passion: “The meanest thing that I ever did/was asking you for another hit/The first love you can't escape/the second love feels like rape.” The opening track, “Aly Walk With Me,” is also the longest song they've ever recorded, breaking the five-minute mark. The song's drony, seductive tone features a hypnotic beat reminiscent of longtime Lynch music collaborator Angelo Badalamenti, specifically, “Pink Room” from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
“The album is about lust in all forms, but mainly for romance and sex,” says Wagner, who has a tattoo of Jack Kerouac on his right forearm. The proof of their focus is best summed up by the lyrics from the title track: “I fell out of heaven/to be with you in hell/Lust I have and crave/a saintly boy I'm not/I'll take it to my grave/and beside it, cursed, I'll rot.”
The Raveonettes play the El Rey on Tuesday, March 4.