A Sentimental Education marks the exciting return of indie rock luminaries Luna, after thirteen years away. The album finds them covering songs by some of their favourite artists, a selection you may be surprised to hear leans towards classic rock: Yes, Fleetwood Mac and David Bowie all turn up, albeit in Luna’s own inimitable style. If you get the double CD version, you’ll also receive an EP of original instrumentals.
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From what I remember about Luna, they were the alternative universe band of Dean Wareham where he didn’t just scream teenage feelings into a cold dream pop void. Occasionally hushed and slightly more intricate in style, they were probably better than Galaxie 500, even if that’s never going to be, like, an emotional truth. Their seventh record, Rendezvous, came out in 2005, before they accepted their fate as a 90s band at heart and disappeared -- it’s 2017 now, and ‘A Sentimental Education’ brings them back round.
The catch, and of course there is one: these are all covers. Dean and Britta and Sean and Lee? They like music. They like the Cure, so they open with a muted dream pop interpretation of “Fire In Cairo”, bringing it down to a whispered dilution that sounds quite lovely -- sleepy but not disinterested, with the kind of groovy rhythmic strums that Luna ran laps ‘round Galaxie 500 with. Their take on Willie Alexander’s “Gin” is a chill, distorted slowcore tune matched with a lazily pontificating vocal performance from Wareham, who sounds like he’s cut this cover in an attempt to join Blank Realm. The guitars lazily twang their way out of existence. Same as ever.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the selection of tunes -- their taste may not be to yours, but his twanging version of Fleetwood Mac’s “One Together” is nice for its own soundscaping, and a take on Dylan’s “Most of the Time” that understands its rightful place as a dream pop tune takes it through a portal into a new world. The record’s slow, steady set of covers is all well and good -- you can pretend it’s new Luna material and thank the lord our favourite wobbly vocalist and his dozing band of heroes is back to poke at our hearts.
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