Luna: "Close Cover Before Striking"

Besides outstanding Stones and Kraftwerk remakes, Luna's seven-song CD offers some of their best new material in years.

Published January 23, 2003 12:02AM (EST)

"Close Cover Before Striking"

Out now on Jetset

New Zealand-born Dean Wareham started the band Luna in the early '90s after leaving the pioneering slo-core trio Galaxie 500. Initially something of an indie rock supergroup, with members from the Feelies and the Chills, Luna have shifted their lineup across eight albums. The membership seems to have settled for now. In 2002, with Wareham as the sole founding member, Luna put out two wonderful records: the full-length "Romantica" and now the seven-song "Close Cover Before Striking."

The most recent collection was recorded and produced by the band, and includes five originals and two covers. The short album feels fully realized -- immediate and raw all at once -- just as rock ought to be. The high-energy opener "Astronaut" is a modern love song, sparkling with Wareham's playful and poetic lyrics: "I wear a styling moustache/ You wear a frozen smile/ We'll run like Tamil Tigers/ We'll drink the poison bile."

On Luna's version of the Rolling Stones' 1981 "Waiting on a Friend" Wareham's bewitching voice reveals levels of poignancy obscured in the original. The other remake is a guitar-pop interpretation of "Neon Lights" by the classic German electronic group Kraftwerk. "Teenage Lightning" provides Luna's quirky, country-pop take on the sorts of growing pains Alex Chilton sang about in his classic Big Star song "13," while tinges of Steely Dan chord changes and jazzy Pink Floyd-esque numbers round out this collection of delicate, powerful and pop-perfect tunes.

By Murray Jason

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