This is the debut release from the Massachusetts songwriter and freelance journalist. His influences are cast far and wide with elements of soul, folk, pop and rock sitting shoulder to shoulder in this hugely enjoyable record. Luening is fortunate to find himself with friends in high places as Juliana Hatfield, George Berz (Dinosour Jnr) and Evan Dando (I freakin' love The Lemonheads) make guest appearances.
The soulful sounds of Uncle's Sweater starts our musical journey with some sweet falsetto vocals and a simple tune that sticks in the head. With Hard Fall Down the landscape changes to dark indie pop with a killer chorus that lingers. It comes as no surprise that Evan Dando features on the glorious dis-chord of Red Flag as Luening leaves you in no doubt of his musical influences.
As Luening continues to try and encompass every musical genre known to man we find ourselves melting at the warming beauty of the folk fueled Never Run which wouldn't sound out of place on a Neil Young album. He seems to be able to move with ease to whatever takes his fancy and a great deal of the credit for this must sit with producers Matthew Cullen and Allan Cole. Luening endears himself to me even more when he proves that he is a man of supreme musical taste by covering Big Star's I'm In Love With A Girl (Alex Chilton was indeed a genius). He remains pretty much faithful to the original but Luening's voice manages to bring something different to the table.
The record closes on the Springsteenish I'm Already which sounds like a late night take at the end of a recording session just when you thought there was nothing there and you end up with a wee nugget of treasure. There is nothing fancy about this album but the honesty, simplicity and integrity is something that can make any record something special and Luening and his cohorts have indeed created something very special. Very special indeed.