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On new mini-album Luna prove they’re white hot
11 October 2002
Luna’s new lineup, gathering strength, puts out a second brilliant disc in just six months.

Romantica was Luna’s first album since 1999’s Days Of Our Nights, appearing this spring with a new lineup and on a new label. Impeccable songwriting, dreamy production, and masterful performance secured its place for me as one of the best albums of the year.
    But I couldn’t tell whether its brilliance was a flash in the pan—whether it all came down to some magic and one-time alignment of the stars (not to mention the legendary touch of producer and former Mercury Rev bassist Dave Fridmann).
    But the band’s new self-produced mini-album, released this week for the US on NYC’s Jetset records (available next Monday on Jetset for the UK), proves that Luna are white hot. They titled the 29 minute set Close Cover Before Striking, and packed it with seven songs—five originals and two covers—that are, every one, strong enough to be singles. Perhaps even more than Romantica, Close Cover Before Striking establishes the new Luna as one of the best bands in the world. They are singer/songwriter/guitarist Dean Wareham; longtime member, guitarist Sean Eden (Kramer, Muttongun, Dogbowl, The Weeds of Eden); drummer Lee Wall (The Weeds of Eden); and bassist Britta Phillips (ex Belltower, Ultrababyfat).
    CCBS, recorded this past January, continues in the same vein as Romantica: melodies to die for, musicianship and arrangements to get resurrected for, lyrics to twist your head around. And it all pales beside the endless wonder of Wareham’s fragile/strong, naive/genius, sarcastic/truthful voice.
    High energy opening track Astronaut, a love song for the Oh’s (our decade), hits the road with burning rubber as a centerpiece of Wareham’s playful and courageously deep lyrical style: “Because your surly smile/ Is so revealing/ Because your feet are bare/ My eyes are peeling/ I wear a styling moustache/ You wear a frozen smile/ We’ll run like Tamil Tigers/ We’ll drink the poison bile.”
    Just in time (by accident, I expect) to coincide with the reissue of The Rolling Stones’ massive catalog, Luna cover Waiting On A Friend. Wareham’s bewitching voice is positively theatrical, revealing levels of poignancy that slept hiding in that song since it came out in 1981.
    The song Teenage Lightning provides Luna’s take on the sort of themes Alex Chilton wrote about in his classic Big Star song, 13. Remaining tracks Drunken Whistler (an instrumental), The Alibi (a slow rocker with tinges of Steely Dan chord changes), New Haven Comet (a jazzy Pink Floyd-esque number), and Neon Lights (a Kraftwerk cover) are each, alone, worth buying the disc for, each one delicate and powerful and perfect.
    Oh, and Close Cover Before Striking includes two videos of tracks from Romantica: Lovedust and 1995.
    Yeah, I’m in love with this disc. Five bites out of five.

Rockbites ratings  5: life changing, 4: stunning, 3: captivating, 2: amusing, 1: annoying.

Luna toured nine US cities last month, and are now in Europe playing dates through 30 October. Check our link for details. | Luna | | tour dates | | CD from Amazon US | | top of page |


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