• Luna - Penthouse (Beggars Banquet)
  • by Stephen Dalton
  • NME (UK) August 12 1995

It's a safe bet that Dean Wareham's record collection is huge,meticulously catalogued and cross referenced to death. His anal fanboyapproach has often stymied previous Luna outings with AOR staidness,but now, perhaps mindful of this, he's made his most feisty album yet.The Prozac has worn off, his eyelids are propped up, and Luna areready to rock. Sort of.

Alas, Dean's still fixated on the classic New York lineage whichhas underscored almost all his work since Galaxie 500. The original"Sweet Jane" was a terrific tune and everything, but that'sno justification for knocking out endless variations on Lou Reed'sthrobbing blueprint like the softly lapping "Lost In Space"or the slightly breezier "Kalamazoo".

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Similiarly, Television axeman Tom Verlaine can drop his trademarkangular scything into the languid "Moon Palace" or thedriving "23 Minutes In Brussels" without too much adjustmenton either side. But while jamming with your idols is undoubtedly ablast, it's sounds rather like cosy mutual backslapping to the casuallistener.

Fortunately, "Penthouse" is just about quirky and urgentenough to escape the adequate-but-generic bracket of it'spredecessors, mainly thanks to cool strummers "Chinatown"and "Double Feature".

By far the best thing Luna have ever done, however, is SergeGainsbourg penned former single "Bonnie And Clyde", a sultryduet with Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier. Frustratingly, this is tuckedaway at the end of the CD only, possibly because it thrasheseverything else here hands for sex, style, atmosphere and sheer starquality.

So (8) for Dean's record collection, (7) for the CD and (6) forthe album proper.