ALBUM REVIEW: The Raveonettes ‘Pe’Ahi’

Danish duo surprise us with a dark album that is noisy yet delicate.

The Raveonettes went all Beyoncė on us with their seventh studio album Pe’Ahi, offering no hint as to when it would be released, and gave the world an acceptable surprise in the form of a scuzzy, surf-rock album that tends to have dreamier moments throughout it.

Opener ‘Endless Sleeper’, which happens to be about Sune Rose Wagner’s near-drowning experience while surfing, is a delicate yet fuzzy track that contains a sweet piano outro that almost seems lullaby-like. The band seem to have thrown in the wall of noise that is only to be expected of them, but have also experimented with orchestral instrumentation on this album, evident by the second song ‘Sisters’ when a harp enters the song and gives it an almost ethereal feel, providing a stark contrast to the heavy distortion that is omnipresent throughout the song.

Third song and personal highlight ‘Killer in the Streets’ is probably the easiest listening song on the album and features an old-school break beat that wouldn’t feel out of place in an early ‘90s hip-hop track, a very catchy guitar riff and a bassline that is certain to get your head bopping big time. ‘Z-Boys’ is a bit of a two part song, the second of the two parts being thoroughly more enjoyable than the first and almost gives the feeling of a wave crashing over you and pulling you under, which I’m sure was desired from this band seeing as their album is heavily linked with surfing and the whole sound of the surf genre.

Death is a prominent theme in this rather dark album and this continues with ‘Kill!’…subtle.  However, this track is more electronic and edgy than the other tracks on the album with the previously common reverb-y guitar riffs only featuring in this song sporadically, being replaced with a heavy wall of noise and dark synths. ‘When Night Is Almost Done’ feels like a really dark, twisted lullaby and crackles away until delicate instrumentation is brought in and similarly delicate lyrics are cooed by Sharin Foo: “When the love dies, do we die too?” The album closes on a bitter track ‘Summer Ends’ that must be addressed to a previous suitor that probably did something a bit wrong.

For an album released towards the end of July, it feels surprisingly dark, tense and cold. It would fit as the soundtrack to your painfully chilly winter as opposed to a bright album that wouldn’t feel out of place playing out of a speaker while you’re next to a pool/beach/any other place you may like to venture to during summer. It’s also a fairly solid album but lacks any real standout tracks, with ‘Sisters’ and ‘Killer in the Streets’ being the only exceptions to that statement but it’s not a bad surprise at all; much better than ugly, patterned socks at Christmas anyway.

Junior Cobbinah