# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Luna - Rendezvous

  by Dominic B. Simpson

published: 18 / 10 / 2004

Luna - Rendezvous
Label: Jetset
Format: CD


"Languid and reflective" seventh and final album from New York rockers Luna, which proves to be "a fitting swansong for an overlooked band that never quite got their dues"

The shadow of Galaxie 500 still hangs around songwriter and guitarist Dean Wareham’s neck in some ways. His bookish, introspective former band from the 80’s have become well-known as a big influence on much indie music of the 90’s and the present decade, particularly with regard to movements like the so-called ‘shoegazing’ movement where much of the reverb and echo-drenched methods that Galaxie 500 exploited were employed. In addition, you can clearly hear their influence on ‘slow-core’ bands like Low and some post-rock acts today. It can be hard to forget that since the acrimonious break up of that band Wareham has been in Luna since 1992 now – a good twelve years. Over that period some six previous studio albums (twice as many as Galaxie 500) have passed our way, in which he’s collaborated with the likes of Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom, Stereolab, and the Velvet Underground’s Sterling Morrison and redefined a more stately, ‘classic’ rock sound than his previous band, but one that’s no less valid. And this album is to be their last – Luna’s website gives ten reasons for why they will officially disband after touring, provided by Wareham: “1. Rock and Roll is killing my [i.e. Wareham’s] life. 2. The Universe is Expanding. 3. There are too many bands out there, travelling around, singing their songs etc. 4. Too much time spent in 15-passenger vans. According to 20/20, these things flip over. 5. Too many hands to shake, that means germs. 6. Too many dinners at Wendy's. 7. People are dying in Iraq. 8. This is what bands do (with a few exceptions, like R.E.M. and Metallica, and the Rolling Stones). Those bands, however, are multibillion dollar corporations. You don’t break that up unless the government forces you to. 9. Hotel Electravision. 10. Time to Quit.” It’s doubtful that the likes of Busted would use no 2 as a reason to split, but in any case, 20 years on from Galaxie 500, Wareham has produced a low-key jewel in 'Rendezvous'. This is hardly music that’s going to have rioting in the streets, but then Luna always were an understated experience, one whose work arguably takes more time to sink in than the more immediate trio of albums his previous band released. Languid and reflective, 'Rendezvous' continues this trend: repeated listens undercover an album of subtlety and grace that may not be so immediate with the first go. The album sets the tone with ‘Malibu Love Nest’: Wareham, now in his 40’s, in contemplative mood set against a dreamy backing and the pitter-patter of drums, his lyrics evoking images of Italian style magazines and late night illicit affairs. ‘Speedbumps’ ups the tone, a reminder that for all their middle of the road tendencies Luna are still very much an indie rock band at heart. With it’s Motorik, Can-like guitar and drums, it has some affecting lyrics by Wareham evoking the open road (It’s raining rain/It’s raining snow/Tell me where you wanna go”), the song ending with Wareham and guitarist Sean Eden trading abrasive guitar lines in a thrilling duel. Illustrating that he’s more than just a guitarist and understudy to Wareham, Eden provides the highlight of the album with a gorgeously sung ‘Broken Chair’, an exquisite spacey ballad (one of two songs on the album that he sings) with his soaring, reverb-drenched falsetto vocals set against some spellbinding alt-country influenced music. After that, the album never quite climbs such heights and if there is one criticism of the album, it’s that it’s languid, mellifluous tone can occasionally be too intimate and understated for it’s own good, leading to some songs having an underwhelming feel, exacerbated by Wareham’s detached, slightly nonchalant and laconic vocals. It’s almost as if he can’t decide whether he really means some of the lyrics that evokes here, though his plaintive cry of “Where have all the good times gone?” on the superb shuffling ‘Motel Bambi’ is affecting enough. Thankfully most of the time these flaws don’t impinge and the band does a solid job all round. With Wareham and bassist Britta Phillips already having already released a side album that focuses mainly on some idiosyncratic covers, it’s likely that the various band members already have other musical projects up their sleeve. In the meantime, this is a fitting swansong for an overlooked band that never quite got their dues. RIP Luna, it was good having you.

Track Listing:-
1 Malibu Love Nest
2 Cindy Tastes Of Barbecue
3 Speedbumps
4 The Owl & The Pussycat
5 Astronaut
6 Broken Chair
7 Star-Spangled Man
8 Motel Bambi
9 Still At Home
10 Buffalo Boots
11 Rainbow Babe

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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

digital downloads


The Best of Luna (2006)
Retrospective compilation from former Galaxie 500 frontman Dean Wareham's Velvet Underground-inspired cultband Luna, who broke up after over a decade and having record seven albums together
Luna Live (2001)

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