The Unkindness of Ravens - Accelerator/Yours Forever But Not To Hold

Hugh Worskett 25/10/2009

Rating: 4/5

These days the term 'B-Side' inspires an array of preconceptions. Branding a song as such can often seem like an apology for its quality so it says something about The Unkindness of Ravens that they have chosen a double A-Side for their debut, demonstrating a willingness to engage and think carefully about older formats in an age where we are increasingly told they are irrelevant and outdated.

I've always liked double A Sides as they display a confidence and willingness to pass the best material over to fans without holding it back for a possibly more opportune moment in the future. The Beatles could have sold twice as many singles in 1967 if they had released 'Penny Lane' and 'Strawberry Fields Forever' separately. Instead they decided to release one of the most perfect circles of vinyl ever conceived.

The songs here are sharply contrasting but co-exist well together. 'Accelerator' is the kind of dirty, fuzzy, musical muck that, if it existed in liquid form, I would be compelled to smear all over my body. That's a good thing. The suitably hip and 'of the moment' shared vocals from Nina Wagner and Ben Raine are underpinned by guitar/bass lines that leap wildly up and down the octave assisted by the kind of effects pedals you'd imagine Jack White keeps a shrine to in his garden. There is a lot of posturing on here but its convincing and not a distraction. 'Yours Forever But Not To Hold' is a tender affair, a pillar of hypnotic sound that never seems to begin or end. It rolls around over itself again and again, a monument to futile love with a bravely cathartic sentiment.

This is a thoughtfully conceived debut, showcasing two very different sides of The Unkindness of Ravens. They can be raw and exciting, vulnerable and subtle. On show here is the kind of emotional range Karen O brought to Yeah Yeah Yeah's debut album. Let's hope The Unkindness of Ravens can follow suit.

Released: 12/10/09

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