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The Raveonettes - Pe'ahi

The Raveonettes' seventh studio album will forever be renowned as the record they released by surprise.

But it's more than that. As a creative work, Pe'ahi stands as another triumph from the Danish duo.

It appeared out of nowhere a couple of weeks ago, but it's no throwaway album. In fact the band worked tirelessly on constructing the complex, dense arrangements and achieving their rather specific auditory goal, working 12 hours per day for four months.

Pe'ahi, named for a surf spot on the north shore of Hawaiian island Maui and recorded in Los Angeles, has been composed to sonically represent the roaring ocean.

At times it's dense, dark, murky and wild, as if the listener is being dragged over the falls of a wave and being chewed up by the power of a hundred tonnes of water.

At other times it is spacious and sparkling. Twinkling guitar, synth, and vocal lines offer respite from the regular walls of noise, allowing the listener a desperate gasp of air before the next onslaught.

"We wanted it to roar like Pe’ahi," the band's Sune Rose Wagner wrote in Q magazine when speaking about the album. He went on to say that it's an album that couldn't have been made anywhere else in the world than the West Coast of America. "Sun, surf, the Pacific, vast spaces yet a sense of isolation. No distractions."

Unlike typical surf music, there's a deep darkness to Pe'ahi. Perhaps due to the fact it was made shortly after Rose Wagner lost his father. Because of this, it becomes perhaps the first surf album that's more suited to winter listening than summer.

There are classic surf-rock tropes employed sparingly throughout. There is twangy guitar in opening track 'Endless Sleeper', the undulating roar of water passing in 'The Rains Of May' and Beach Boys-esque harmonies in 'When Night Is Almost Done'.

Undercurrents of fuzz and crackle run through the entire record. While seldom the focus point of a track or even a section of a song (the dirty, groovy 'Kill!' a notable exception), its thick, raspy drone is always there. It's like rust that has caked on to the songs after too much exposure to salty condensation.

But the best device used to represent the scope of the ocean is just making everything sound enormous. It's a thick and intense record both in sound and concept and, as such, one of the most triumphant creative moments in the duo's seven-album career. 

It's like rust that has caked on to the songs after too much exposure to salty condensation.
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