Record Review - 2 February 28 2001

Formed at the dawn of the '90s, Luna have become one of the most blissed out of Lou Reed's children, and the only ones (besides perhaps Sonic Youth) to carve a long-term career of it. But despite their name, Luna aren't simply dreamy and meandering. The band has some direction. They capture that quintessential feeling of wandering New York streets in spring; of getting there, but going a different way. And like the Velvet Underground's third album, Luna know sound needs to be loaded.
For every ambling "Chinatown" there is a darker jangle tangle such as "Sideshow by the Seashore," where the riffs are woven like something by Television, with delivery just as terse. But laconic isn't the same as lazy. And just because something appears effortless doesn't mean it didn't take effort.
On Live!, Luna make a successful effort to introduce themselves to the casual listener and satisfy the loyal fan. The recording is pristine, but not antiseptic. There's stage patter, cheers and the occasional shout-out, but no noisy arena rocking. Luna demurely chime their way through 14 intimately presented songs, including covers of Galaxie 500's "4th of July" and Serge Gainsbourg's "Bonnie and Clyde." "Lost in Space" even recalls the chords of "Sweet Jane." Luna may occasionally amp it up, but they don't walk on the wild side. But that's OK. Their stately energy is perfect for sensitive indie rockers and Uncle Lou.
Luna play the Variety Playhouse, Sat., March 3.