For four years I've been trying to figure out just what it is about Luna's records that dissolves my brain cells into giddy little pleasure bubbles. But this band's appeal is impossible to pinpoint--it's not in any one thing but rather in a thousand little things. It's the sad grandeur of Dean Wareham and Sean Eden's guitars, the McCartney-esque bass line in the coda of the new single "Dear Diary," the clipped acoustic strum and spiraling riff of "Rhythm King" (from 1995's Penthouse), the line "You can never give the finger to the blind" (from "Slide," on the band's 1992 debut, Lunapark). Not everyone appreciates it: some fans still haven't forgiven Wareham for abandoning the late-80s proto-slowcore band Galaxie 500 just as their style began to mature, and some feel betrayed by the more polished direction he's taken since. But though there may be nothing remotely experimental about Luna, they're by far the better band. Their albums work both as a piece and a progression, every bit as classic a grouping as Al Green's early-70s work or Sonic Youth's last eight or nine records or the bulk of Pavement's oeuvre. Their Call Me or Daydream Nation or Brighten the Corners was the twilit, quietly sexy Penthouse; the brand-new The Days of Our Nights (Jericho) is a lesser work, but it contains a couple tracks that are as good as anything Luna's ever done: the assured rocker "Dear Diary," which opens the disc, and the mind-boggling closer, a torchy version of Guns n' Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine" that buries both the original and the country-flavored remake Sheryl Crow hit the charts with earlier this year. Unfortunately, Wareham has vowed not to play the cover live. Saturday, 10 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203. Michaelangelo Matos
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Lavine.