Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips have been a romantic couple for a long time now. Long enough to make two proper full-lengths, an EP, and most recently the gorgeously crafted 13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Test, for which you can find them occasionally popping up to perform in art museums and gallery openings. Five years ago, though, Wareham and Phillips were putting the finishing touches on Luna, a not-quite-celebrated-enough indie pop outfit who released eight solid albums over the course of their career, and preparing to team up for their own personal endeavors, both professional and matrimonial. In 2006, Luna released their final album, Rendezvous, and filmed an elaborate DVD, Tell Me Do You Miss Me, that chronicled the rise, near stardom, and final curtain call of the ensemble. Now, it’s time to rejoice in the band’s hypnotic sounds again, as their final three albums are re-released, re-mastered and re-shuffled with the complete and obligatory bonus recordings. However, you’ll have to look online to purchase these reissues, as they’re available as digital only releases on Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody, Emusic, and Bandcamp.
2002’s full-length Romantica and EP, Close Cover Before Striking, feature some of Luna’s most signature laid-back performances. Warham’s voice, always a laconic drawl, and his alliterative and sometimes non-sensical imagery, is augmented well by Phillips’ sinewy basslines, guitarist Sean Eden’s clean riffs, and drummer Lee Wall’s pulsating rhythms. “Lovedust”, “Black Postcards”, and the album-ending title track best sum up the slow-burner that is Romantica, while “Teenage Lightning”, “New Haven Comet”, and the Stones’ cover, “Waiting on a Friend” anchor Close Cover Before Striking, and provide the perfect soundtrack for a lonely and rainy evening. On Rendezvous, the band’s ups the energy levels, charging ahead with high tempo tracks like “Speedbumps”, “Astronaut”, and “Star Spangled Man”. The album is also memorable for two of Eden’s best contributions to the Luna catalog: the lamenting “Broken Chair” and the cautiously optimistic, “Still At Home”.
These three collections deserve a re-listen for those who may have neglected Luna in the interim. For those who are late to the party, now is the chance for a proper, albeit belated introduction.
// Notes from the Road
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