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No more "Luna 2" -- they settled the legal question, and are now a quartet with the addition of second guitarist Sean Eden. The first release as "Luna" is the opening track from Lunapark backed with five non-LP tracks: three interestingly chosen covers, one new original ("Rollercoaster"), and a stripped-down demo of the album's "Hey Sister." These last two recall the feel of leader/guitarist Dean Wareham's solo single for the Number 6 label, and indeed may date back from those sessions. Both are good, if nothing special. No, the covers are what make this a steal: "Indian Summer" is less precious than Beat Happening's original (for one thing, Wareham's singing is more natural) without sacrificing BH's charm, and Luna add some especially tasty guitar soloing (without wank-itus) by Eden and Wareham for a few minutes after the singing concludes. Lou Reed and John Cale's "Ride into the Sun" is perhaps a little too obvious; Wareham has been plagued by Velvets comparisons since his days in Galaxie 500, and this just adds some weight to that tenable perception. Without differing strongly from the original arrangement, this sounds like any other Luna original! Still, the way it goes from ultra-gentility into another nice, guitar-crackling instrumental break is effective. And that's not all; Luna then checks in with an even more famous (and much less forgivable) Velvets copycat, Steve Wynn, by covering his "That's What You Always Say." The song dates back to Wynn's pre-Dream Syndicate group (Fifteen Minutes) with Kendra Smith, though both bands recorded a version. Funny enough, though, this cover turns out to be the highlight of this release. With a forceful edge, they finally make full use of ex-Feelies drummer Stan Demeski, who grabs ahold of this thing and clobbers it, and gritty ex-Chills bassman Justin Harwood. It turns out after years of making sleepy music with varying degrees of success, Wareham actually shines like new shoes right off the rack when given a chance to rock out uptempo. Here's hoping that he and his all-star supergroup get more of a chance to really air out such considerable skills and verve. If this is what they can manage when the metronome jumps up a full click, then here's a hot band, not just an intriguing one.

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