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Album Review

Rarely does a band put forth their best work on their seventh release, but it seems that Luna has accomplished that with a slight tweak of the knobs and a brand new pen. Romantica charges out of the gate with a new vigor, brightness, and sensitivity that, in retrospect, hasn't really come together within one package for them since maybe Bewitched. Now they've brought in a production team (namely Dave Fridmann of the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev fame and Gene Holder of The DB's) that put to task recording and mixing Luna songs with a dimension outside of flat guitar layering. The result is a warm, vibrating record that at times can turn anthemic and rollicking. It would be easy to expound on the merits of just the production, but the key to even that success lies in great songwriting. Dean Wareham is relaxed and rolls out some of his best imagery and sentiment. The songs are pointed and bitter ("I'm tired of having no future/And I'm tired of pushing my luck/I'm tired of waiting for the end game/Waiting for the stars to turn black"), but they're witty, imaginative, and sarcastic ("I'm loaded up/And weighed down/And I'm surrounded by demons/Its fantastic"). Another key to Romantica's success lies in these variances of style that propel the record into successive blocks. There's the coyingly up-tempo pop of "Lovedust," the swirling anthem of "Black Postcards," and the straight-up rock of "1995." Meanwhile, "Mermaid Eyes" could have been played at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance in Back to the Future with its blushingly sappy demeanor delicately prodded by a Britta Phillips and Wareham duet. Each listen (this record can be very habit-forming) builds apon Romantica's initial immediacy: each spin revelatory and emotional — playing out like the confession of a man possessed with the boredom of empty promise.


Formed: 1991

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

In the wake of the rather acrimonious breakup of his previous band, Galaxie 500, singer/guitarist Dean Wareham issued a 1991 solo EP, Anesthesia, and appeared on the brilliant Mercury Rev single "Car Wash Hair" before announcing the formation of a new band, dubbed Luna, in 1992. Originally named Luna², the trio was a kind of alternative pop supergroup that also included former Chills bassist Justin Harwood and ex-Feelies drummer Stanley Demeski. After signing with Elektra, they debuted with the...
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Romantica, Luna
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