Observator is a record born out of a situation that has been producing fine rock and roll records for decades. Raveonettes frontman Sune Rose Wagner suffered a back injury which put him in to a deep depression. A trip to Venice Beach for inspiration turned dark when drugs and alcohol got the best of him for three days. The experience was all he needed to write the nine tracks that compose this, their sixth proper album.
It's only fitting that the album was recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Echoes of the Doors, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Van Halen, Neil Young and Led Zeppelin are still haunting the studios at this rock institution, with many of their recordings being inspired by tragic and tumultuous experiences such as the one that inspired these songs. The record has that classic warmth to its overdriven guitar tones that sound so comfortable when they hit the ear. Something tells me that much of the reverb we're hearing is natural. Maybe Denmark has some relaxing coastal settings of its own, but I get the feeling that much of the blissfully lazy atmosphere created by this album has something to do with the southern Californian air getting in to their bloodstream for the amount of time it took to write and record this album.
One of the qualities I admire about Observator is its conciseness. That may sound like an insult, but it's not. The record clocks in at 31 minutes and 20 seconds. Its longest song runs for 4:30. They know not to put unnecessary filler on an album that has enough going for it already. They know when to end a song and how many choruses is too many. They say and play just the right amount and achieve an ideal equilibrium: long enough to cover all the ground it needs to cover but short enough to keep the listener interested. Some of you folks in bands out there can learn something from this duo. Those not in bands can just take this opportunity to listen to one getting it right.
Written by Tom Steffes, Radio K volunteer.