Reviews

Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham

Dean Wareham has been down this road before. Back in 1997, the Luna frontman and his then-wife, filmmaker Claudia Silver, recorded an odd little covers album under the moniker Cagney & Lacee, but their endeavor was definitely more of a miss than a hit. Six years later, Wareham's giving the idea another go, only now his foil is current Luna bassist-vocalist (and reported paramour) Britta Phillips.

As it turns out, the second time's the charm. L'Avventura stacks six off-the-beaten-path covers against five originals, a wise move that steers the focus away from novelty and in favor of the pair's engaging vocal interplay. Phillips's voice has a fetching smokiness to it, sort of like a more self-assured Hope Sandoval, and it brilliantly entangles Wareham's wary croak to quite bewitching ends.

The album kicks off with two newly penned duets: the elegant "Night Nurse" -- formed around Wareham's signature fluid guitar work and breezy violins -- and "Ginger Snaps," which sashays around the room in a quasi-disco style while offering such typically abstruse Wareham-isms as "When the kitchen sinks/When the sugar winks/When the doctor calls/When Niagara Falls." Next is a moody, urbane take on Madonna's "I Deserve It" (with Wareham assuming the vocal lead), followed shortly by the duo's shining moment -- a stirring, string-laden rendition of Buffy St. Marie's "Moonshot." The set does contain one or two missteps, notably a lukewarm interpretation of the Doors' "Indian Summer," but L'Avventura mostly glows like new lovers delighting in every aspect of their blossoming romance.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Alan Goldberg