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4.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 8, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


"Heading for Tacoma / And driving too fast / Nixon's in a coma / And I hope it's gonna last," sings Dean Wareham on "Rhythm King," one of Penthouse's more cheerful tracks. Clearly, fans of Lloyd Cole and Television's Tom Verlaine can take heart: Galaxie 500 main man Wareham captures the wry and reflective spirit of both artists on this third album from his band Luna. Wareham's melancholy vocals and Sean Eden's pretty electric guitar shimmer brightly over the drony rhythms of ex-Feelies drummer Stan Demeski and Chills bassist Justin Harwood. Mr. Verlaine himself steps into the fray with some guest fretwork on "Moon Palace" and "23 Minutes in Brussels," which, like many Luna tracks, slowly builds and then drifts into gorgeous semiresolution. And don't miss that unlisted bonus track, a cover of Serge Gainsbourg's "Bonnie and Clyde" with Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier singing the Brigitte Bardot part. A sensitive band that hasn't forgotten how to rock, Luna have a talent for making songs of resignation and regret that are not only palatable but, after repeated listenings, positively addictive. --Bill Forman

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Chinatown
  2. Sideshow By The Seashore
  3. Moon Palace
  4. Double Feature
  5. 23 Minutes In Brussels
  6. Lost In Space
  7. Rhythm King
  8. Kalamazoo
  9. Hedge Hog
  10. Freakin' And Peakin'

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 8, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002HJ2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,449 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Carragher on June 5, 2001
Format: Audio CD
they'd be listening to Luna and, as the speakers boomed out across the sound, Jay Gatsby would be at the end of his dock, trying to figure his way into their world by figuring out this music. Here's what Penthouse sounds like -- it sounds like languid, six foot tall women reaching across a glass topped table for their one cigarette a month. It sounds like lipstick traces on your cheek alone in a warm taxicab and the first snowflakes just getting flicked away by the windshield wipers. It sounds like one single light still softly on at 3 AM in the windows of an otherwise all dark building across Fifth Avenue from Central Park; awful things happening there perhaps, but you're pretty sure not. It's music that defines all those times you can't quite figure out what's going on, or where it may be headed, but God do you love it as it's happening. And there's the tie back to Gatsby and the Buchanans, no matter how seductive this work, there's a whiff of darkness about it too, but isn't that always the way with temptation. Personally, I've always wanted to be like the singer's friend in Chinatown --"you're out all night/chasing girlies/You're late to work/And you go home earlies." Yep, "earlies," that's what he says.
"Shimmers," see Amazon reviewer above, is a good word for the music; seamless would be another. And Wareham's voice is another instrument in the mix, sometimes lulling, sometimes quietly desperate. Or think of water, this music flows you along from one cut to the next, and in the time it takes you to surface from the cut just ended, a new one has begun. I don't know of another CD where I've been less aware of the blank seconds between cuts than on this one.
Specifics? Comparisons? The closest sound I know is some of the quieter Yo La Tengo.
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Format: Audio CD
Penthouse has been in my heavy rotation ever since I first discovered it back in 95. Initially attracted to "Chinatown", a top-ten hit if ever there was one....How has this band avoided becoming huge? Listen to the building crescendo in "23 Minutes in Brussels". The final jam manages to simultaneously sound like a rolling freight train, ringing bells, a jackhammer and a chorus of angels singing the return of the Lord. Played at high volume, I can't keep myself from screaming with enjoyment. "Lost in Space" actually captures the feeling of being a million miles from Earth, Dean's guitar leads whispering beautifully from light-years away. But its the WHOLE RECORD, there's not a weak link. Wouldn't you think I'd be tired of a CD after 3 years of constant play? It's that good; buy it immediately, you'll thank me later.
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Format: Audio CD
The perfect soundtrack for lonely nights. Dean Wareham and his band pull out all the stops on their third full length albulm. Naughty songs fill this from "Chinatown" "You're out all night/ Chasing girlies/ You're late to work/ And you go home earlies." to the last song "Freakin' and Peakin'". Each track is a gem of lonliness and despair. Like other indie rock king Wayne Coyne (of the Flaming Lips) Wareham takes our hand shows us comfort through humor. His lyrics are often quirky, yet all-together very touching. For there is never a boring moment on this albulm. Luna fills the air with strong guitar work that doesn't call too much attenetion on itself, but fits the mood pefectly. Wareham has come a long way from Galaxie 500, and on this abulm he is showing off. Better production value, better song-writing, better guitar playing, and an amazing record to show for it. The song "Kalamazoo" is perhaps one of the best songs ever written. The perfect jam to sit back with one of the "green, green bottles" and know that someone out there hurts just as much as you do. Simply put, this is one of the greatest albulms to have ever been recorded. Not enough good things can be said for it.
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Format: Audio Cassette Verified Purchase
Some bands jump out of the box, with their first album being the best thing they will ever do, though in the case of Luna, they don’t jump, and it took the album “Penthouse” for them to create their own “Sgt. Pepper.” Dean sights the two previous releases as being nothing more than three musicians recording his songs. But with Penthouse, they hit their stride, where they’d played together long enough to function as a unit, toured together and written together long enough to not only know, but appreciate each other’s talents. And that, along with the incredible song “Chinatown,” brought them the recognition they deserved.

I was set for this release by Luna, what I wasn’t set for was the quality of the music found on Penthouse. The songs have great hooks, they build slowly, they draw you in and then from the middle of the songs they begin the process again, becoming ever more deep, more layered, more complex, and more exciting, until they gently set you down comfortably ... only to start the process all over again with the next number.

At the show, just prior to this release, quicksilver guitars rush and seem to roar without volume. The guy I’m standing next to at the bar mutters out of the corner of his mouth, “I don’t know what they're saying ... but I hate it anyway.” I had the feeling that not only the audience, but the band as well, were wondering if they were in the right place ... they’d been living on a diet of stale cigarettes and warm beer, and today they were not in the same time zone they were yesterday. Welcome to “Chinatown,” the leadoff track of the album Penthouse.

Dean Wareham, who has a penchant for effulgent guitar solos, also wears his mordant wit on his sleeve full time. Even talking to him requires shifting gears to run in his orbit.
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