Since the Starvations have nearly broken up and the Strokes can't harmonize, our fleeting hope that some dark doo-wop would seep into the music world is fizzling fast. The Raveonettes still burn, though, and they're the best bet to expose the creepy teen-dream melodrama of that '50s sound. On their first two releases, these Denmark smarties came with Suicide's '70s art drone and the Jesus and Mary Chain's noise -- too bad the albums were limited by that "recorded in only one key" shtick.
On their latest, Pretty in Black, the Raveonettes have finally ditched the gimmicks and achieved enough of a buzz to hire some prime influences (Ronnie Spector, Martin Rev, Maureen Tucker) to contribute to what should have been their masterpiece. Instead, the record is a drowsy dashing of this band's dark promise. It's certainly not bad, and the Raveonettes have obviously worked hard to distance themselves from the persistent JAMC comparisons. But it's just not the giant leap needed to bring any remaining revisionist '50s weirdness into this millennium.
That said, the Raveonettes live show has grown more expansive. A whiplash drummer, obvious background-vocal samples, and just enough squalid guitar inject some blood and humor into the band's repertoire while retaining its sexy mystery. And fear not: The Raveonettes are just too darned cute to get dropped as easily as every other underselling, overhyped band. They'll get another chance.