Dusted Reviews

Britta Phillips & Dean Wareham - L'Avventura

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Britta Phillips & Dean Wareham

Album: L'Avventura

Label: Jetset

Review date: May. 29, 2003

With Extra Cheese

Whatever use you may or may not have for Dean Wareham’s post-Galaxie 500 output, hand him this: He’s avoided Lou Reed’s No. 1 post-Velvets mistake: He’s stayed consistent. Luna may be the most well-branded name in brainy, cosmopolitan rock. Judging from this record – designed from the cover on down to feel like one of those Lee Hazelwood / Bombshell XYZ collaborations that are just now getting the hipster attention they deserve – Wareham has always had a few ideas he deemed too cheesy to broadcast from beneath the Luna umbrella. His nasal monotone and the slackjawed absurdism of his lyrics stay constant, and those are so pronounced that, at first, L’Avventura sounds like it could pass for the new Luna album. But everything else about the record, upon closer inspection, seems inversely defined by the spare Luna aesthetic.

There’s the head-bob to disco, “Ginger Snaps,” that’s so lovingly executed that it’s easy to believe Wareham’s been waiting for the proper forum since ’76. There’s a lovely cover of brutally depressing Native American folkstress Buffy Saint Marie’s “Moonshot” that’s dosed with enough strings to kill Phil Spector; one imagines it running through Wareham’s head as he recorded Luna’s “Seven Steps To Satan,” slowly scrubbing itself of the morning’s crust of irony.

And most of the rest of these numbers follow that pattern: Stuff that’s too vulnerable for a Luna disc, but too good to let die. OK, some of the stuff on the album’s latter half just sounds like bad Luna. But I stand by my theory.

If Wareham was waiting for the right collaborator, he waited just long enough. Barbie-ish bassist Britta Phillips has been pitching tents in corduroys on the last few Luna tours, but didn’t work her vocal wooziness until 2002’s Romantica, and if you listen to that fine slab o’ wax now, you can hear L’Avventura in development. Her pretty-but-insecure songwriting contribution “Out Walking” feels delicate in an unfinished sort of way, so look forward to part two. But on her duets with Wareham, the two complete each other, and Wareham’s sideline fantasy life becomes the Luna fan’s candy-infested playground.

By Emerson Dameron

Read More

View all articles by Emerson Dameron

Find out more about Jetset

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.