Luck or Magic is the half-originals, half-covers solo debut of Britta Phillips, a veteran of indie rock bands such as Ultrababyfat, Luna, and Dean & Britta, the latter two with her husband Dean Wareham. Phillips began working on the album in 2012 with electronic DJ Scott Hardkiss, but set it aside when the '90s rave pioneer died suddenly the following year. She later regrouped to finish the album with producer Eric Broucek (LCD Soundsystem, Eleanor Friedberger), along with producer/drummer Roger Brogan (Alison's Halo, Spectrum) and Wareham, who appears on six of the tracks. Frothing with haze and sultriness, Luck or Magic is unlikely to either surprise or disappoint established fans, and likely to seduce, in general. Opening track "Daydream," for instance, would make a more than suitable Bond theme with its symphonic underpinnings, retro guitar tones, unconventional melody, and yearning vocal delivery ("I'll stay here and wait/And I'll pray for the day"). Another original, "Do It Last," blends airy trebles with '70s soul for an equally sensual offering about being the partner that lasts. From amongst the covers, a standout is the Cars' "Drive," which expands on the aching power pop ballad's ringing synths. Elsewhere, a shimmering version of Evie Sands' "One Fine Summer Morning" retains the 1969 song's wistfulness, hand drums, and playful bass, adding an inspired flute solo that sounds of the past but isn't. Other revisions include tunes by Fleetwood Mac, Dennis Wilson, and Agnetha Fältskog of ABBA. While Broucek's production unifies the various songwriters with a distinct tone and sighing palette, based on the promise of Phillips' own songs, one can't help but to anticipate a full-length selection of her own material. With Luna having reunited in 2015 to tour, and talk of the band testing the waters in the studio, and with Phillips and Wareham collaborating on film scores like 2015's Mistress America, only time will tell which of her projects will materialize next.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson