If you thought the latest issue of Bob Guccioni's Penthouse was stimulating, wait until you hear Dean Wareham's. The more I listen to this album the more I like it. Truthfully, I was very skeptical at first listening. When Luna played NYC in September (right after the album came out) they played maybe three tracks from the new one, the rest of the material was from "Bewitched and the Slide" EP. I figured they didn't know the new material well enough, or didn't like it as much as 93's stuff. I was puzzled.

Penthouse really is a great one though, if you dig Dean's lifelong tribute to Velvet Underground. The guitars have almost no effects besides very basic reverb, the chord progression from "23 minutes in Brussels" are almost identical to "Sister Ray" from VU's White Light/White Heat. Wareham's lyrics are also an acquired taste. Check out "Chinatown" where he rhymes "chasing girlies" with "you go home earlies." "Moon Palace" ends with the band singing "Meow meow meow." The beautiful "Kalamazoo's" chorus is "nimney nimney nimney wha, nimney nimney nimney hey-O."

The only tracks that truly falter are the ultra-boring "Sideshow by the Seashore" and the hidden track at the end, "Bonnie and Clyde," a duet with Laetitia Sadier from Stereolab. The background whoop whoops are almost too much to bear.

The diehard Luna fan will love this one, maybe it will take some getting used to, but it will happen. Dean Wareham can get away with anything, and listening to him do it is a very satisfying experience.

Dave Robbins
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