Record Review


Romantica (Jetset) Even at its worst, a Luna album is good for at least one strumariffic pop tune. The utterly forgettable Days of Our Nights (1999) had "4000 Days" and nothing else. Of course the band is capable of the opposite, as their debut Lunapark and its follow-up Bewitched were magical documents of VU-inspired rhythmania. The problem is that ever since knocking the first two out of the park, the outfit has been erratic at the plate. Romantica is similarly uneven. The swapping out of Justin Harwood for Britta Phillips on bass seems to have enlivened things somewhat, but what starts so promising, sputters as the album progresses. The back-to-back insouciant grooves of "Black Postcards" and "Black Champagne," with their wry, clever lyrics blend seamlessly into the punchy orchestration of "Renée Is Crying," but the geist gets lost in the acrid fuzz of "1995,"and it decays until title track ends in the ridiculous: "I'm in a jam, you're in a pickle -- we're in a stew." Yes, you are. It could have been Bewitched revisted, instead Romantica is a lesser revision of Penthouse without a "23 Minutes in Brussels." It's no dinger, but definitely a slump-buster.

** .5

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