The Days Of Our Nights
By: Eric G.
After being dropped by Elektra earlier this year under puzzling circumstances, Luna has finally secured a new record deal in this country and released its best album since 1994’s Bewitched. The Days Of Our Nights is a fairly dark record for Luna, perfectly aligning Dean Wareham’s soft and sleepy sing/speak vocals with maudlin guitar pop. The arrangements are minimal, but the effect is serene and shows a spark that was noticeably absent from the labored sound of 1997’s Pup Tent. Luna rocks but in its own midtempo and unobtrusive way. Wareham’s kooky lyrics have always seemed strange coming out of his mouth, especially with that overly nasal tone he has, but his words and music meld together seamlessly here.
“Dear Diary” has a driving rhythm with intricate guitar noodlings that coalesce into a beautiful chorus: “and then you blew my mind/always on my mind.” Luna has mostly shaken the longstanding shadow of the Velvet Underground with a sound that is immediately recognizable and distinct all on its own. Wareham’s songwriting has always been riddled with subtle hints of brilliance, but this record really showcases his craftsmanship. Each song builds into something bigger than it seems. “The Old Fashioned Way” best exemplifies the new and improved Luna. The guitars are delicate, almost otherworldly with shuffling drums and Wareham’s ever-present, sluggish voice.
“Four Thousand Days” mixes affected guitars and syncopated rhythms that once again kick into an amazingly catchy chorus: “Remember, remember/I’m sticking to my story/remember, remember/it’s all that I have left.” The shimmering guitars play a larger role on this record than on previous Luna albums, which always revolved around Wareham’s wordplay and vocal technique. Despite the relatively dark tone, the band still inserts its sense of humor on songs like “Super Freaky Memories”, “U.S. Out Of My Pants!” and “The Slow Song”, which is sung entirely in German.
Luna closes The Days Of Our Nights with a moving version of the Guns ‘N Roses classic “Sweet Child O’ Mine” most unlike the butchery Sheryl Crow made of it recently. With its patented slow tempo, Luna embraces all of the melodic bits of the original and pieces together the soft, sentimental core that Guns ‘N Roses had disguised with distortion and histrionics. The Days Of Our Nights should make Elektra wish it hadn’t been so hasty in letting the band go because it’s one of the best records of the year.