Luna: Close Cover Before Striking (Jetset)

While it was a rapid follow-up release, there is much good in this “quickie.”

Perhaps latching on to the success of Romantica, Jetset has chosen to release an enhanced CD containing seven new recordings from Luna. The CD, Close Cover Before Striking, also contains two videos for songs from Romantica. While it was a rapid follow-up release, there is much good in this “quickie.” Dean Wareham can sing just about anything and make it interesting. A cover of a Rolling Stones song (“Waiting on a Friend”) acquires some lovely new nuances. His voice finds just the right amount of whimsy and ennui to bring out things that Mick Jagger probably never considered. In recording “Neon Lights,” Kraftwerk’s late ’70s jaunty masterpiece, Luna leans more toward the flight-like tendencies of the song; it is more a remake of Love Tractor’s 1980s version. While theirs depended more upon instruments, Luna’s rests more on Dean Wareham’s stilted vocals. Of the five originals, my favorite is “The Alibi.” It seems to be a favorite Luna theme—the truth of words and where an alibi becomes a lie. “Astronaut” fits perfectly in the sound that the band has shifted toward with Romantica. In many of the songs there is the usual great wordplay, as in “Teenage Lightning” when Wareham utters “I can hypnotize a pancake/I can levitate the pope” (sort of an interesting visual there and makes us wish we were on the same natural high that the band seems to be on).

Close Cover Before Striking is certainly not an album, but it is not an EP. It is a gift to people who have been listening all along or who have just tuned in. Whichever category you fall into, it is a welcome gift.

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