Toronto
2 min

Beats & boyz in the band

Duos Dutch & hip hop

ROMANTIC ROCK & DAZZLING SHOCK. Hip-hop duo OutKast. Credit: Xtra files

Danish duo The Raveonettes love the dark sleazy streets of American cities where hearts are broken, people are hookin’ and sex don’t sell. Their first full-length album, Chain Gang Of Love, is a fuzzed up reverb treat. The lovely girl/ boy harmonies of Sharin Foo (bassist/vocalist) and Sune Rose Wagner (writer/guitarist/vocalist/co-producer) recall The Primitives, X and The Jesus And Mary Chain.



All the songs on this album have simple chords and beat poet coolness. “Noisy Summer” starts with hands clapping as cute girl group vocals chime in: “Chewin’ on a whip/ your little dress is tight/ Gonna make me burn/ gonna make it right.” Most of the lyrics are sexy-sad, leather-clad stuff. “Love Can Destroy Everything” is a warped waltz with life support beeps: “How would you tell me and how would you hurt me/ when hearts are not chained at first sight.”



Co-produced by Wagner and Richard Gottehrer (Blondie, The Go-Go’s and Marshall Crenshaw), Chain Gang Of Love has a strong film-like atmosphere: black, rainy and unkempt with heavenly drips of sorrow and kisses. A truly romantic piece of art.



CHAIN GANG OF LOVE.

The Raveonettes.

Columbia. $15.99.



**

When I first listened to OutKast’s new double album The Love Below/Speakerboxxx, I was struck at how brilliant and breathtaking the songs are (especially on The Love Below). There are so many crazy ideas, collages of sounds spinning into your head. The lyrics are plain, shocking, side-splittingly hilarious, political – and downright misogynist. They confront your being and dare you to accept – while shaking yer booty.



First you must know that the styley boys of OutKast decided that each would do their own album. Andre 3000 has The Love Below; Big Boi has Speakerboxxx. They both dazzle with their music smarts. But I must say I’m more partial to The Love Below.



Andre 3000 starts with a grand orchestral opening that would make Judy Garland proud. This album is all about sex and, boy, is it fun. It really has the power of Prince in the Purple Rain/Sign O’ The Times era.



Andre has wit of urban legend Dolemite or comic Richard Pryor. And there’s a Curtis Mayfield sexiness to his voice that gives lines like, “Can’t resist your sexy ass/ just spread for me,” a romantic air – trust me.



“Prototype” is my fave song, lovely tingly guitars float on sly beats as Andre coos, “I think I’m in love again.” This album is perfection – honest and funky. The album of the year.



Boi’s Speakerboxx has a more serious political agenda. He’s thinkin’ of family, god and the power of living good and true. His sounds are more aggressive: heavy beats electric intensity (think Lee Scratch Perry meets Parliament). And he’s a rapid fire MC. On the powerful “Ghettomusick” he tells us (with help of a Patti LaBelle sample), “Find a way to get in/ to fit in/ You get on/ you get out/ without a doubt/ Ghettomusick.” He also has created a dancefloor classic, “Bowtie” with an infectious groove. “Crocodile on my feet/ fox fur on my back/ bowtie ’round my neck/ That’s why they call me the gangsta mack/ in the Cadillac!” Yeah.



His supreme album is best summed up in his own words: “Well, it’s some real shit and I’m living it through this song.” On “Hey ya!” Andre 3000 states: “Thank god for mom and dad for sticking two together because we don’t know how.” But these “partners in rhyme” do know how…. brilliantly.



THE LOVE BELOW/ SPEAKERBOXXX.

OutKast.

Arista. $16.99.