Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, The Raveonettes come crashing out of the Los Angeles breakers with their seventh album Pe’Ahi. Inspired by the beaches and sunshine of their adopted home town and taking its name from the popular surfing spot in Maui, Hawaii, the Danish duo unveiled the record earlier this week with no prior heed or hullabaloo. The sense of total surprise at its arrival was made all the more acute as it had generally been felt that 2012’s Observator may well have been their last ever long playing release.
Had Observator been The Raveonettes’ swansong it would have proved to have been a rather disappointing end to a recording career that had started so brightly in 2003 with their resonant debut album Chain Gang of Love. However, the sudden and unexpected death of Sune Rose Wagner’s father last year had propelled him into an altogether different emotional place. Out of his sense of bewilderment, alienation and abandonment came the forces of creative vitality, personal resolve and intense determination.
This tidal force of energy and disenchantment can be heard throughout Pe’Ahi. Right from the outset and the rattling drum and 50’s surf guitar intro of ‘Endless Sleeper’ the strong metaphor of riding huge waves is never far away. The exhilaration and danger of surfing is captured in the sheer spontaneity and raw intensity of the record’s recording process, a blur of activity that saw some fifty songs eventually whittled down to the ten that made the final cut.
Echo-laden drums, overblown song composition, strident staccato guitars, and Sharin Foo’s shrouded, layered vocals all add to a tumult of sound that enables Pe’Ahi to build a bridge between early Phil Spector production values and the future of pop music.
Pe’Ahi was released on 22nd July 2014 via Beat Dies