The Raveonettes : Heartbreak Stroll/Christmas Song

Christmas time. Don't let the feedback end. The Raveonettes' Single Of The Week

Breaking exciting new ground for The Raveonettes, new single ‘Heartbreak Stroll’ makes a brave, bold, potentially foolhardy leap out of B minor – the key in which last year’s debut, ‘Whip It On’, was stuck. Not wishing to alienate us altogether though, they’ve stuck to their sunshine sound of Sixties’ girl-group West Coast pop being dragged through the icy currents of [a]Jesus & Mary Chain[/a]. Similarly, Sune has opted for another tale about a forlorn lover being passionate and disillusioned on some mean and smoke-filled urban streets. A reworking of a popular Raveonettes theme maybe, but when that theme is this deliciously, glacially divine, what would we ever want them to change? Not the signature muffled drums, nor the charmingly amateurish treble of the guitars, and certainly not the deceptively sugary harmonies whose surface ripples with untold menace. But even so, it’s not ‘Heartbreak Stroll’ that makes this record indispensable. No, it’s the b-side, ‘Christmas Song’, the first seasonal indie single of the year (and my, what treats there are to follow – [a]The Darkness[/a]’ ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’, [a]Jet[/a]’s ‘Backdoor Santa’, Avid Merrion’s ‘Proper CrimBo’, etc.) that grabs the SOTW spot. And, if we’re not very much mistaken, it’s the greatest ode to Xmas since 1963’s ‘Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector’, which, coincidentally, it sounds almost exactly like, athough we don’t remember The Ronettes’ ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ ever sounding this sexy. All husky, warm and sensual vocals and slow, druggy, tremolo-stretched notes set against a sharp pizzicato guitar riff, ‘Christmas Song’ is set to play havoc at motorbike-friendly office parties across the land. In fact, anyone who still opts for [a]The Darkness[/a]’ kiddie choir cash-in after hearing this is quite obviously an eunuch.

Krissi Murison