Noisy Summer

The archetypal American summer consists of beach parties, outdoor barbecues, Anette Funicello in a bikini, surfboards, and the Beach Boys. Of course, none of that exists as one thinks it should. A lot of stupidity in the pursuit of endless summer is forgiven since everyone is concentrating on not thinking very hard. This explains the public's acceptance of lightweight romance novels, Hollywood blockbusters, and the plethora of one hit wonders during the warmer months. (Sorry, this theory applies to Americans only„the rest of the world has to come up with their own excuse for such things). Yo La Tengo attempted a summer theme on their latest Summer Sun and probably released their slightest album after a string of great ones. Instead of the fleeting sense of the season, the album is merely fleeting. That is, the songs don't stick. (Though the recent Today Is The Day EP is reported to correct that problem).

The Raveonettes recent album Chain Gang Of Love would have been a perfect summer record„pop melodies drenched in feedback, the attitude of summertime carelessness. Too bad the album was released at the beginning of September under the critical eye of autumn. It's harder to pull a fast one on the collective crankiness of the public as the weather turns colder. I have to excuse myself at this point because I do like autumn more than summer. And I have to excuse myself further because Chain Gang Of Love deserves more attention my initial cast over of it. The Raveonettes are, as one calls it, a rock n roll duo (though a full band plays on the album) of Sune Rose Wagner on guitar and Sharin Foo on bass. The Whip It On EP from earlier this year played like as a down and dirty fuzz attack steeped on American pulp fiction and film noir. Chain Gang Of Love has a softer side with the more apparent vocal contributions of the bass player gal and songs concerning love. Well, softer like a safety razor is softer than a straight-edge razor. And love is compared to time on a chain gang. The album is proudly recorded in B-flat major!

The Danish band has absorbed ïcool' American ideals (Kerouac, leather jackets, James Dean, motorcycles, etc.) better than most American do because the Raveonettes avoided that stupid trap of irony (also known simply as stupid irony). I am okay with them selling back to me my own culture„I wasn't using it just now anyway. Sune wails out a line like 'I ask you what you want and you tell me what you need' in 'That Great Love Sound'. So it doesn't really make sense, but if Bob Dylan spat something like that out it would be poetry.

But, you might be muttering to yourself, hasn't this sound of buzzsaw guitars over bubblegum melody been done with the Jesus And Mary Chain twenty years ago? Well, that's not the point. My point is... I lost the point somewhere„my mind is thinking ahead to summer. Perhaps the pursuit of endless summer has nothing to do with collective iconic images after all. Maybe the spirit of summer is walking tall down the street with the feeling that nothing can stop you. Except autumn around the corner.

© 2003 Matthew Hintz