Dean & Britta 

Back Numbers (Zoe/Rounder)

On their first record since dissolving indie-pop staple Luna (and second full-length as a couple), Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips take the classic guy-girl dynamic and spin it into something a bit more modern. On Back Numbers, it's easy to see why Dean was so smitten with Britta in the first place — she's both a temptress and a kitten, one who purrs and seduces throughout this collection of acoustic-guitar-dominated balladry. Pal Sonic Boom, who twiddled knobs and remixed tracks from the pair's 2003 record, L'Avventura, has reared his head a bit on this one, too, but not in any grand fashion. Back Numbers has occasional electronic elements, as displayed on sparse opener "Singer Sing," but this is a melodic record that screams lounge chic. The slow-waltzing "Wait for Me" is airy and sweet, and flirtations run rampant during "Say Goodnight," a stand-out track that Phillips wrote. Dean and Britta trade choruses, playing coyishly off one another; the odes to Gainsbourg and his ladies are apparent, but not redundant. A few obscure covers (the Troggs, Lee Hazlewood) up the cool factor, but it's the intermixing of Dean's dry delivery with Britta's sultriness that ultimately yields that old-fashioned "opposites attract" feeling. Back Numbers is wholly romantic.

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