Friends of Dean Martinez

Live at Club 2

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Four years after it was issued by the German label Glitterhouse, Friends of Dean Martinez's Live at Club 2 got its first stateside release, thanks to Aero Recordings. Recorded at the now-defunct Munich club for Bavarian radio in spring 2001, the album features a small but carefully chosen set list that covers many of the band's highlights up to that point. More importantly, it flows as a performance: beginning with the sweet, sleepy "For All Time" (from that year's On the Shore) and cresting with Atardecer's "Inner Sanctum" and "Ethchlorvynol," the intimate setting really allows the band to play with the peaks and valleys of their sound. Live at Club 2 was recorded on Friends of Dean Martinez's first tour after they became a trio again, and the sense of space and dynamics on the album are almost tangible. Particularly on slow-burning tracks like "Main Theme" -- which features gorgeous, shivery rhythm guitar -- and their smoky reworking of "Summertime," the live setting makes the band sound less "filmic" and more immediate than on their studio albums. The title track from their masterpiece A Place in the Sun and "Chunder," which dates all the way back to their 1995 debut, The Shadow of Your Smile, are two of the other highlights from this concise but powerful set. The album also comes with a bonus disc, "Live in Berlin," a much longer, more expansive performance that gives the band's dark desert soundscapes room to breathe, and then some.

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