A couple of weeks ago, I posted about how I first met Luna for their entry at (coincidentally) #15 on my Best tunes of 2002 list. It was their sophomore album, “Bewitched”, with which I first fell in love with them and then I continued to follow Luna through each subsequent release from there. Their debut album, “Lunapark”, however, I didn’t actually hear until after they disbanded in 2005, and to be honest, it was after I first listened to a live version of our tune of focus today on their sole live album, the obviously-titled, “Luna live”.
I was a bit sore about their disbanding, perhaps more so because I was supposed to see them live on one of their last tours that hit Toronto but I missed it. (I’ll save that story for a future post.) I immediately began grasping at whichever of their albums to which I’d had yet to listen, starting with the aforementioned live album, which I had previously ignored because I’m not typically a fan of live records. I loved this one though on first listen, the sound is incredible and their live energy was palpably captured on the recording. One of the standout tracks for me, of course, was “Anesthesia”, which I had incredibly never heard beforehand. I tracked it down as appearing on the debut and so when I saw “Lunapark” sitting on my friend Mark’s CD racks one day, I asked him to borrow it.
Luna was still a trio when they recorded this debut. Ex-Galaxie 500 frontman Dean Wareham had just put together the group with drummer Stanley Demeski (ex of The Feelies) and bassist Justin Harwood (ex of The Chills), causing critics in the know to pull out the ‘indie supergroup’ label. The sound wasn’t super distant from Galaxie 500’s latter day work but Wareham’s two band mates definitely made their presence felt in the dream pop miasma.
On “Anesthesia” in particular, the bass is quite muscular, sinewy and organic and lots of heft, while Demeski’s drumming is impeccable, tight yet loose. I know that doesn’t sound like it makes sense but just listen to the drumming in the song and it will. And of course, there’s Wareham’s guitar work, at times dancing and shimmering, jangly finger plucking through the verses and then, he gets all rock and roll and radical after the choruses.
I’ve included the slightly shorter and cleaner original version from the album below but if you can find it, I’d also recommend having a go at the live version (from “Luna live”) as well. Both are great to get lost in for a few moments. You’re welcome.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 1992 list, click here.