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"I'm sick of writing entire albums, because I just don't see a point to it anymore...I have no interest in making 12 songs that fit together." Thus spoke Sune Rose Wagner last spring when I sat down with him and bandmate Sharin Foo to discuss The Raveonettes' past, present and future. The Danes' most recent record Observator was barely six months old, but Wagner's frustration with the grind of a traditional release cycle was palpable, his desire to break the mould set in stone. "This is a song era" he added, "and it should be all about the songs."

Something evidently changed; Pe'ahi has appeared just over twelve months later, arriving with none of the fanfare, marketing, and teaser trailers that routinely accompany big hitting indie release these days. It's been a tumultuous year or so for Wagner - he moved to LA, was hospitalised with a serious back injury, and suffered the untimely loss of his father the day before Christmas - and it would be naïve to think that such events hadn't bled into his songwriting. But far from diving deeper into the bleak, sonic maelstrom that has characterised most of their work, Pe'ahi is their most open, emotional record to date.

The Ravonettes have always operated in the shadows, their scuzzy, lo-fi pop and bittersweet ballads being part noir, part romantic haze. Fusing the pounding drums and waves of distortion from '50s garage rock with the bubblegum harmonies and hypnotic cool of girl groups like The Ronettes was a shrewd move, casting them as canny pop archaeologists while still sounding distinctive. Much of that remains - 'Sisters' swims through an ear-piercing crackle and, elsewhere, Foo's paper light vocals remain as disarming as ever - but the real left turn is the decision to pull back the curtains and let a little sunlight in.

"I've sand in my shoes" opens 'Endless Sleeper' and, from start to finish, the beach and sunny days loom large; the music here plays with wide open spaces and endless blue skies, infected by a languid warmth. The studied outlaw cool and walls of noise have been replaced by something more accessible, more immediate, though when the mood takes them - the positively dirty riff that powers 'Killer in the Streets' say, or 'Kill!'s fizzing synth line and demented breaks - they still cut loose better than most. 'Wake Me Up' has a gorgeous, soaring sweetness to it, while the soft, seductive shuffle of 'The Rains of May' sounds like the backdrop to a vintage Tarantino montage.

In lieu of romance or lust, febrile topics the duo have always returned to, loss and failed relationships loom large in the lyrics, reflective perhaps of personal turmoil. "To say goodbye is to die a little bit" Foo laments on 'Wake Me Up', and Pe'ahi is shot with through with "It's over" sentiments and the minutiae of breakups, never more so than on 'A Hell Below', a dark, vitriolic rant that turns the blame inwards and ramps up the self-condemnation. All this juxtaposes neatly with the sunny nature of the tunes, and most impressive of all is their restraint; bitter, remorseful lyrics from a band not afraid to pepper their songs with gritty observations about fucking and rape might have toppled over into something far too hateful to stomach, but it's a trap they skilfully avoid. Indeed, the only outré moment is an observation that "One time I saw my dad fuck a redhead whore," a line Wagner takes all for himself.

He recently told Drowned in Sound that he "didn't think Observator was such an accomplished album," and in parts Pe'ahi scans like the work of a band determined not to repeat (perceived) past failings; in that, they've succeeded. The most satisfying aspect of the album is the way that, after repeated listens, the bombast fades into the background to reveal subtle, interesting details; the harp interludes on 'Sisters', changes in tempo and rhythm, or the album opening with the exact same drum beat employed by The Doors on the first track of their debut album - "The ultimate West Coast band," according to Wagner, "and an endless source of inspiration."

Some may argue that it's not adventurous enough, that after eight albums they really should have more tricks up their sleeve. But like its predecessor, Pe'ahi takes a few bold steps - 'Kill!' is damn near an electro track, after all - while retaining all the aspects that make them great. Besides, a follow up, titled #2, is apparently being readied for imminent release, made up of a selection of the fifty-plus tracks they've penned since 2013. How they develop from here will be interesting to see but for now, just be content to bask in the glow of Pe'ahi's warmth; who knew the sun would suit them so well?

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