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Luna - Luna Live

  by David McNamee

published: 17 / 12 / 2001



Luna - Luna Live
Label: Beggars Banquet
Format: CD

intro

Luna Live. Luna: Live. Never let it be said Dean Wareham and his post-Galaxie 500 cohorts are guilty of false advertising. This is definitely Luna, definitely live. At least we gather that’s what the


Luna Live. Luna: Live. Never let it be said Dean Wareham and his post-Galaxie 500 cohorts are guilty of false advertising. This is definitely Luna, definitely live. At least we gather that’s what the occasional spasm of applause and low rumbling sound in-between tracks signifies, because, truth be told there isn’t a whole world apart between Luna Live at the Dog & Duck, Amsterdam, and Luna Live on your living room hi fi. Let’s face it, we’re not talking Kiss here. This band put teddy bears' picnics to shame with their tweeness. In lieu of any kind of best of retrospective, however, Luna Live does make an intriguing introduction into Phase 2 of the recorded history of one of the most criminally overlooked songwriters since Lawrence from Denim ejected indie kings Felt for Casiotone disco and songs about shopping trolleys. Culled from Luna’s five albums to date, this collection strips the songs of their most superfluous elements, showcasing a nervy dexterity and precision soul that is frequently left a little two-dimensional in studio works. Performed by the basic four-piece indie band set-up – no mellotrons, no cellos – the live environment lets the songs breathe a little, occasionally twisting the dynamics tighter around Wareham’s soporific, cooing vocal. And what magnificent songs they are – old favourites like ‘Anesthesia’ and ‘Tiger Lily’ sounding as vital as ever, although it is slightly bewildering that the New Yorkers most recent LP, 1999’s excellent ‘The Days Of Our Nights’, is only represented by two throwaway numbers somewhere in the second half. As ever, it’s Dean’s crystalline lyrical approach – insinuating but gentle, and well restrained – stealing the show, each track exposing slightly abstract vignettes with a feel for prose and detail. ‘My mind is taking photographs/Of every little thing/Exhibit Number 2… a piece of white chocolate.’ Even when he sings of "crying a river" and flying into his intended’s dreams, it’s without cliché. Lines that would chafe elsewhere sound penetrating and soulful here. Irritatingly, the lovely lo-fi cover of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ is absent, but you get the picture. So, sorry, it ain’t ‘No Sleep Till Hammersmith’ and even in their own field Luna are a little hard to place – too sincere to be Pavement, too obtuse for Buffalo Tom – but if you’re yet to discover the dreamy well of American lo-fi pop that doesn’t fall up its own arse with theremin orchestras, then you could do worse than a bit of this.



Track Listing:-
1 Bewtiched
2 Chinatown
3 Friendly Advice
4 Pup tent
5 Sideshow By The Seashore
6 Anesthesia
7 Tiger Lily
8 4000 Days
9 Hello Little One
10 Moon Palace
11 Lost In Space
12 23 Minutes In Brussels
13 4th Of July
14 Bonnie and Clyde



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live reviews


University of London Union, London, 17/1/2005
Luna - University of London Union,   London, 17/1/2005
On their farewell tour and at their final ever London date, Dominic Simpson watches seminal indie rockers Luna play a thrilling set of new and old classics at the University of London Union


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