I’m not always a big fan of hidden tracks on albums. Often times, they’ll end up taking 60 tracks to get through, and once you do, they’re merely joke songs or aimless instrumentals. Remember that song at the end of Tool’s Undertow that was somehow both monotonous and frightening? My point exactly. Yet, I couldn’t help but be pleasantly surprised to hear an unlisted cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Bonnie & Clyde” at the end of Luna’s Penthouse album. Though the album itself is quite spectacular, this addition only enhanced the already wonderful listening, where most covers would only come off as needless novelty. Yet the band did it again in 1999 on Days of Our Nights with their own take on Guns n’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” stripped of its Sunset Strip attitude and transformed into a hypnotic lullaby. With these two songs, I was already convinced that Luna were some of the most creative and just plain good interpreters of other people’s music, and Rhino must have realized the same thing, making available, posthumously, a collection of their cover material on a digital only compilation titled Lunafied.
Lunafied‘s first track is a familiar one—that outstanding version of “Bonnie & Clyde” with which I was already quite enamored. The bad news is that “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was not included in this series. A total bummer, considering how strong of a take it is. Regardless, the band creates magic with all of the material at hand, in spite of the notable omissions (also absent: Kraftwerk’s “Neon Lights” and Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed”). In Luna’s hands, Blondie’s “In the Flesh” becomes at once a swampy rocker and a doo-wop slow dance. Suicide, a band to which Luna paid tribute in “23 Minutes in Brussels,” sees their “Dream Baby Dream” become an ethereal pop daydream. “Thank You For Sending Me An Angel” comes close to maintaining the manic energy of Talking Heads’ original, though a little sloppier, admittedly. Wire’s “Outdoor Miner” is one of the more rocking on this set, as well as one of the most faithful. And “Everybody’s Talking” is as sweet and sad as the original, but with Dean Wareham’s quirky delivery adding an extra bit of comfort to Harry Nilsson’s shuffling original.
Throughout the length of Lunafied, each track is treated both playfully and reverently, making for a thoroughly fun experience. Unlike, say, Yo La Tengo’s Murdering the Classics, the band actually seems to have practiced these tracks before recording them, and while there may be a few classics missing from this set, this is one of the most enjoyable cover sets you’ll come across.
Luna – Best Of
Hem – No Word From Tom
Twilight Singers – She Loves You
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.