I'd give this 3.5 Stars if I could:
There's a lot to like in The Raveonette's sixth full-length album. The Danish duo have been crafting their own version of fuzzy shoegaze for some time now; they were ahead of the curve, creating dreamy textures inside melodic pop songs. Unfortunately, the newest batch from The Raveonettes is decent, but something about it feels tired and familiar.
OBSERVATOR begins with one of its highlights, "Young and Cold." The song mixes a reverb-drenched, distorted guitar, and vocalists Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo share some really terrific harmonies. In fact, the best moments of the album occur when the two voice mix with one another in each song's smoky atmosphere. "Young and Cold" uses its droning guitar to create the backdrop for the beginning of the album before the song introduces a light piano riff - the combination of the fuzzy guitar and the clean(ish) piano sounds great, but the band, never ones to repeat themselves, never reintroduce that combination throughout the rest of OBSERVATOR. The distorted drum machine that kicks of "Curse the Night" shows definite promise, but the rest of the song kind of slouches on by with a limp chorus.
The album kicks up its tempo with "Sinking With the Sun," laying down textures of distant distortion - it's a great song, and Wagner's lead guitar is very effective throughout. "She Owns the Streets," one of the album's singles, attempts to use a sugary pop melody, and it only kind of works for the band. Compare this with the album's closing track, "Till the End," where the band attempts similar styles, but to greater effect. Throughout OBSERVATOR, the only song that really evoked any reaction out of me was "Young and Cold," the rest of the album is mostly without catharsis or much emotional pull.
At 9 songs, the album feels pretty short, and this is only exacerbated by the fact that most of these songs are forgettable. With the exception of a few, many of these songs were forgotten as soon as the track moved on to the next. I think that most fans of the Raveonettes will enjoy this record, but I can't imagine it standing up to the band's past work. Standout tracks to sample/download: "Young and Cold," "Sinking with the Sun," and "Observations."