Dean & Britta: Back Numbers (Zoe)

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Dean & Britta: Teen Angel
Dean & Britta: Back Numbers (Zoe)

The main players here are former Kiwi Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, one half of the New York-based band Luna whose distinctive, moody style drew from the template set down by early Velvet Undergound. In fact Luna opened for VU at one of those fraught 90s reunions.

Wareham was also in the earlier indie band Galaxie 500. Together D&B provided the score to the Oscar-nominated movie The Squid and the Whale, and their debut album L'Avventura was produced by Tony Visconti who steered classic albums by Bowie and T. Rex. Back with Visconti for this subtle, low-lights and elegantly spare collection, it sounds in places as if the spirit of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra had been genetically modified by the Cowboy Junkies: dreamlike vocals, lyrics like "wait for me at the bottom of the sea", melodies which turn on the most simple of chord changes . . .

And that Hazlewood connection is reenforced by their cover of his You Turned My Head Around.

Luna only ever enjoyed a cult following despite some fine albums (Lunapark, Bewitched, Penthouse), but anyone who heard those outings will readily sign up for this one.

If Wareham's body of work is new to you then this laconic, brooding, Lou Reed-influenced and love-saturated collection is a great place to start.

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