After the 2002 release of Luna’s Romantica
LP, band members Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham began work
on L’Avventura. This album is less a side project,
and more just a collection of tasteful covers and nice originals
seemingly put together for fun. Madonna's I Deserve It,
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Moonshot, the Doors' Indian Summer,
Angel Corpus Christi's Threw it Away, and the Silver
Jews' Random Rules make up nearly half of the eleven
track album, and are all performed with the utmost tastefulness.
As for the originals, they seem to represent a side of songwriting
that might not be compatible with the recent recorded output
What at first seemed an odd choice for producer actually does
this record quite well; legendary producer (Bowie, etc) Tony
Visconti produced this record in a very un-Tony-Visconti way.
The overall tone of this record is like a mixture of Portishead’s
Dummy, Mazzy Star’s Among My Swan,
and ordinary Luna. The inclusion of some tasteful, lush strings
reminds me of Portishead (especially on the more trip-hop-ish
selections), but Britta’s breathy yet strong vocals really take
me back to old Mazzy Star records.
Stand out tracks include Night Nurse, a song about British
medication which is full of very well-executed vocal harmonies;
Madonna’s I Deserve It, in a faithful but not boring
rendition, and the beautiful Your Baby, which really
shows Britta’s capabilities. Also, one of my favorite electronic
instruments, the Suzuki QChord, is used on four of the tracks!
Drummer Matt Johnson (who played on most of the late Jeff Buckley’s
records, as well as with Beth Orton and others.), and the Scorchio
String Quartet round out the roster of contributors for the
Verdict? L’Avventura is a really cool record
with some really bright spots. It’s definitely worth checking
out, especially if you are a Luna fan. Also worth noting is
that you can hear Britta’s home demo version of Your Baby