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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Raveonettes' new sound echoes at Spaceland

June 16, 2005|Steve Appleford | Special to The Times

The Raveonettes are comfortable in shades of black. And on Tuesday, in the first of three nights at Spaceland, the band dressed the part: dark, stylish and cool. But the music created by leaders Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo was never bleak. It's a sound filled with color, part '80s, part early-'60s and very much in search of the sounds of tomorrow.

The buzz and fuzz of the band's early, feedback-drenched recordings have given way to crisp guitars and beats, with rich, frayed melodies on the new album, "Pretty in Black." But songs new and old blended easily together on the strength of the pure pop harmonies of their voices.

"Black" already stands as one of the year's best albums and certainly among its most direct, dark and joyful, with songs dreamy, echoing, romantic. At Spaceland, there was stinging surf guitar on "Love in a Trashcan," the face of Jack Kerouac tattooed on Wagner's strumming arm. "Sleepwalking" erupted from a twangy Western guitar riff and into waves of dramatic, swirling pop that could have come from the best of Blondie or Echo & and the Bunnymen.

Singer-guitarist Wagner is the songwriter and studio wizard, but onstage he and platinum-haired singer Foo were equal partners, sharing a vivid sound and vision. It made the Raveonettes a highlight at this year's Coachella festival, even under the bright desert sun. But they looked right at home in the shadows of Spaceland, finding comfort and light in the gloom.

*

The Raveonettes

Where: Spaceland, 1717 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake

When: 9 tonight

Price: $15

Info: (323) 661-4380

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