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Dean and Britta:: Back Numbers (Album Review)

I never thought I’d say this, but if Back Numbers exemplifies the cultural production in store from the former members of Luna, then I’m over the moon about that band’s breakup. Their très chic collabo allows Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips to indulge their penchants for cleverly chosen covers, evocative film scores and the thick-eyeliner’d attitude of coy 60s pop. Originals like The Sun Is Still Sunny, a lyrics-accentuated version of their theme from The Squid And The Whale; Crystal Blue R.I.P., an elegy for a dead rabbit that’s all swooning strings and reverbed guitar out of a Crystals song; and the cat-and-mouse duet of Words You Used To Say sound at home beside Troggs and Lee Hazlewood covers. The greatest joy on Back Numbers is hearing Phillips come into her own, moving from White Horses’s gauzy Mazzy Star coos to the cracked-wide-open howl on the chorus of You Turned My Head Around. Not a dud in the entire meticulous love letter to a da-do-ron-ron era.
(Sarah Liss)