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Dean and Britta

Back Numbers | Zoë/Rounder
By CAITLIN E. CURRAN  |  February 26, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars

Just as Luna’s final album, Rendezvous (Jetset), was a portrait of a band facing an uncertain demise, Back Numbers is an album about moving on. Former Luna leader Dean Wareham and his wife, Britta Phillips, who was the bassist in the final Luna line-up, got married in the midst of recording the disc, so even if it’s their second full-length as a duo, it’s still a first of sorts, particularly given that Wareham no longer has Luna to go back to. One constant throughout his career has been the Velvetsy nature of his strum-and-drone guitar pop. Back Numbers does nothing to change that — which means Luna fans will be pleased. Sweeping strings and haunting harmonies give a moody feel to an album on which the lyrics range from reflectively optimistic to just plain absurd — “Crystal Blue RIP” is a eulogy for a dead bunny. On “White Horses,” Phillips sings sweetly against a tinkling xylophone: the song was the theme for a 1960s British children’s TV show, and she only lets a hint of irony creep into her delivery. The other three covers are an upbeat take on Donovan’s “Teen Angel,” Lee Hazlewood’s “You Turned My Head Around,” and the Troggs’ “Our Love Will Still Be There.” But the truest line comes in “The Sun Is Still Sunny,” a reflective ballad near the end on which Wareham sings, “I can’t say what to do/But we’re not going back there again.”

Dean & Britta | Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston | March 9 | 617.369.3306

  Topics: CD Reviews , Dean Wareham , Britta Phillips , Lee Hazlewood ,  More more >
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