Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips are best known for being one-half of Luna, one of the most critically acclaimed rock bands of the past two decades. Back Numbers, picks up where their debut album, L'Avventura, left off, with the spotlight on Dean & Britta's vocal interplay on originals like "Words You Used to Say" and "Wait for Me," along with covers of '60s gems such as The Troggs' "Our Love Will Still Be There" and Lee Hazlewood's "You Turned My Head Around." 2007.
The thoroughly excellent sophomore release by the two best-looking members of Luna should make any fans who bemoaned that group's demise happy as hell with its lovingly crafted cocktail hour visions. Back Numbers
offers up perfect rainy day music on every graceful, laconic song. The album recalls the sophisticated, decadent sounds of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra throughout. Unsurprisingly, Hazlewood is covered on one song here but this is no cheesy retro exercise; in fact, no one has mined this type of material with such originality since Nick Cave approached it in the 1980s. Each song is imbued with a subtly different style, with nods to the hazy psychedelic folk-rock of Opal and Clay Allison on numbers like "Say Goodnight" and the steampunk synth washes of Sonic Boom (who performs on the album) and Suicide on "Singer Sing." Other numbers like "The Sun Is Still Sunny"--awash in sophisticated strings, hushed dual harmonies, a dash of piano and Mr. Wareham's warm and melodic guitar lines--don't sound like anyone else, at all. Huzzah! --Mike McGonigal