Please Excuse My Eyes
Spencer G. Dickson | Murray, UT United States | 09/15/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Luna's oeuvre is solid from top to bottom--so much so that their consistency became a point of criticism. The band arrived fully formed with its 1992 debut "Lunapark" and kept plugging away steadily and single-mindedly for seven albums. Their sound underwent subtle variations from album to album, of course, but those new colors and shades were basically cosmetic. Luna's strengths were constant: great songwriting and spine-tingling guitar interplay. That said, of all the Luna albums, "The Days of Our Nights," their fifth offering, is the shortest on those two elements.
You know how certain albums take time to sink in and reveal their charms? It's a cliché, but there's truth to it. The problem is figuring out which albums deserve that extra effort from the listener. Sometimes, albums that are difficult to grasp initially will "click" after several listens, but this phenomenon is not a simple matter of giving an album enough time. Some albums never "click," and, unfortunately, "Days" is one of them. It's short on melodies and hooks, and its songs blend into an unwieldy, unmemorable mass. On the other hand, the performances and production are beautiful: the guitars sound typically sumptuous, the rhythm section is on the mark, and the vocals are on par with the rest of Luna's albums. But nothing stands out.
"Superfreaky Memories" might be the best song here, but it sounds like at least three other, better Luna songs from previous albums. I'd be hard pressed to be able to sing a line from any of the album's other tracks, and I've listened to the darn thing several times, hoping for it to sink in. It never did. The G'n'R cover that closes "Days" is pretty and languid in the same way that all of Luna's best songs are, but it comes off as nothing more than novelty, sounding exactly as you'd imagine it would. Worse, its phoned-in performance seemed to hint that the band was running out of ideas.
Perhaps Luna was in a creative rut when writing and recording "Days." The album certainly sounds like a rather joyless affair. In his liner notes for the posthumous "Best of Luna" collection that was released this year, Dean Wareham hints that the "Days" era was a rough stretch, one that almost claimed the band. Remember, Luna had been dropped by Elektra, consigning "Days" to the realm of the dispossessed, and Justin Harwood hung up his bass not long after the album, which was mercifully rescued by Jericho Records, had run its course. Whatever was going on behind the scenes, something wasn't right in Lunaland. Thankfully (and perhaps surprisingly), "Romantica," the follow-up to "Days" that was released in 2002 found Luna back on form, with a new energy and sense of purpose."