Raveonettes “Pretty in Black” Reviewed by Phillippe Coullette, IV from Lemu Island

Summer was just breaking through when the rains came. Although the temperature was fine, at around 19c each day, the grey skies and wet ground just weren’t for me. I thought about visiting my wife Coverton (of whom we shall speak no more) at her bedside at the recovery center in Geneve, but decided against it. It probably wasn’t best for her treatment program to see me sliding up with a silk cut in one hand, 2.5 sheets to the wind– shopping addiction is a serious and fast-growing problem and not one that can be cured overnight.

So instead I had Theo fire up the magical bird, my now 5 year old yet still youthful G5, destination Afrique. Lamu island is a precious little spot just off the coast of Kenya, with the Indian Ocean all around. It’s still a rather simple and dusty place, but with gorgeous villas and a windswept quiet that is only broken by the mosques’ calls to prayers.

The town’s expat hangouts are somewhat infested with the kind of people I generally ignore (rich layabouts with poor musical taste), so my MO when I’m there is to rent a simple yet gorgeous villa and stay there for about a week, smoking the local hashish and gazing out to sea while listening to music and playing host to various friends. I rarely leave the grounds except to swim in the ocean or drive my Citroen Mehari like a madman on the beach, something that has been outlawed in far too many places.

I was just unpacking my things when I heard laughter echo through the stone halls of the moorish-style villa. I had told a few people I was going to be on Lemu, but it was always a guess as to who would show up. To my delight, it was two old friends, Ynes and her cousin Andrea, who studies art in London. They had brought a cousin of one of theirs whose name escapes me.

In their hands was a CD, which they put on right away and started dancing, 50’s style. This was a good choice of style because the band was the revival-mad Raveonettes, and the album was the new one, “Pretty in Black”.

The record takes a low-key approach to 50’s rock and it works on almost every track. Buzzing guitars, 50’s cadence vocals, and outside the malt shop with a pompadour attitude. This was good stuff. I rocked with the ladies for a few hours , then turned them over to the cousin to let them go to town and hobnob.

Me, I stayed in the Villa, looking out the waves, 50’s on my mind, as the sea went from blue to purple to black.

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