Luna

It feels real nice to deliver the news that a veteran band that has influenced hundreds of acts during its tenure has released its final album, and that the album sounds every bit as good as the records it was releasing 10 years ago. Luna's Rendezvous, its swan song (the group announced last month it was dissolving amicably, before things started to suck), is, quite simply, magical. From the opener, "Malibu Love Nest," a winsome gallop of a love note, to the effervescent sunset hayride that is "Still at Home," Luna hits every note of its dusky dream-pop perfectly. Front man Dean Wareham hasn't sounded this at ease with his voice since '94's Bewitched, and the dual fretwork of Wareham and Sean Eden twinkles, the jaunty notes glittering across a skyline of soft snares and warm bass lines. How, after lineup changes and a string of mediocre releases like '97's Pup Tent and '02's Romantica, this band managed the quiet majesty of Rendezvous is beyond me. At once a whimper and a bang, this is the way Luna's world ends, and it is breathtaking.
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Garrett Kamps