THE RAVEONETTES, MELODY'S ECHO CHAMBER, THE UPSIDEDOWN
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) The Raveonettes' latest, Observator, doesn't break far from their established mentholated sound: sweet, dark pop with hat tips to girl-group bouffants, the Velvet Underground's black-turtleneck cool, the Jesus and Mary Chain's overdriven clang, and electric-tape goth glamour. Main songwriter Sune Rose Wagner wrote a very candid account of the record's inception—it involved a trip to LA and a lot of drugs and alcohol. Perhaps due to his difficulties, his emotional state is a little hard to pin down on Observator (bandmate Sharin Foo tackles lead vocals on a number of tracks), but the record contains some of their most heartfelt work, alongside some of their most sleek and misdirectional. Six albums in, the Raveonettes have developed one of the most consistent bodies of work in the past decade, and if critics dismiss them as too repetitive, fans recognize the depth and subtlety of their catalog. Let's hope Wagner's troubles are behind him and there are many more Raveonettes albums to come. NED LANNAMANN