A Sentimental Education
When Luna reformed we were treated to a spectacular show – and now the band’s return to recording, roughly a decade and a half after its last official release sees this charming set of record-collection pop and rock covers. Often there can be an underwhelming feeling attached to a covers project, particularly in a reunion sense (“we waited all this time and then it’s just songs by other people?!”) but not so with Luna. This band has a rich history of interpreting songs written by others – the selections are wise, interesting, eclectic and it all feeds into the vision and sound of Dean Wareham.
In fact A Sentimental Education could have worked as one of those Late Night Tales/Back To Mine mix albums – make up your own playlist of the originals, you won’t be disappointed.
When Wareham tackles the Velvet Underground here it’s from the post-Lou “traitor” album, Squeeze. But his Lou Reed love is to the fore on the version of Bob Dylan’s Most of The Time. You could almost imagine Lou stepping up to the mic for one final mumble-sing.
From The Cure’s Fire in Cairo to Mercury Rev’s Car Wash Hair, A Sentimental Journey has me thinking of the character in The Squid and The Whale (coincidentally, a film scored by Dean & Britta) who performs Hey You by Pink Floyd an announces it as essentially an original song because he felt he could have written it.
So in dipping back to Fleetwood Mac’s Kiln House (One Together) and David Bowie’s eponymous “Space Oddity” record (Letter To Hermione) you’ll hear Dean, Britta and the band cover songs in a way that lovingly laps at the sides of the original while gently steering them towards the Wareham waters.
A Sentimental Education is – as with Yo La Tengo’s covers projects – both a reminder of an excellent band and a chance to dig back to originals you might have missed, or haven’t heard in an age.
It’s both photo album and brand new novel. You flick through the pages, absent-mindedly, amber-hued, gauzy, gazing, nostalgic, dreamy. Or you stay up late to pore through the pages, vivid, exciting, a new work that is instantly pleasing – engrossing.
A Sentimental Education allows for both experiences simultaneously.
It’s a welcome return to – and a welcome back of – the dream-pop lushness of Luna.
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