If you are a first-time listener to Britta Phillips when putting the needle on her latest LP “Luck or Magic”, you might think she’s one of the many pop singers à la Lana Del Rey, who can include emotion into airy songs (Wrap Your Arms Around Me). Her album is nice and enjoyable, but doesn’t stand out of the crowd. Some songs are pretty cool (Do It Last) but nothing in here is overly awesome.

It is even more troubling when you know that Britta Phillips is the same person who used to front one of the most charismatic indie pop bands, Luna and be the female half of the duet Dean & Britta. For the last 15 years or so, she always teamed up with husband Dean Wareham.


Fun facts: Britta’s father, Peter Phillips was Paul Simon’s music teacher and worked in Broadway plays. Britta was born in Michigan, but grew up in Buck County, Pennsylvania. At 19, she moved to Brooklyn and started her musical career in the mid-80s as one of the lead voices of the cartoon series “Jem” that features a female band.  She co-starred in the music movie “Satisfaction” in 1988, alongside Justine Bateman. She rose to indie-pop fame when joining Luna, in 2001 led by Dean Wareham (an ex-Galaxie 500 member), recording the band’s last two albums, “Romantica” and “Rendezvous”. Then they became Dean & Britta for three albums from 2003 to 2010.


Now aged 53, Phillips’ songs still showcase her lovely voice, but they lack what the magic her previous bands used to have. One Fine Summer Morning is a nice attempt at a 60’s brit pop Kinks pastiche, but it never gets as good as Laura Gibson’s latest work, or Allah-Lah’s.  On “Luck or Magic”, Phillips covers The Cars’ mega-hit Drive, from their 1984 million-copy selling album “Heartbreak City”. It wasn’t the most passionate song then. It isn’t now pushed by Britta’s voice.

I am here listening to song after song, every time hoping the next one is going to move me, charm me, get me daydreaming, something! But, no luck. No magic.

britta phillips luck or magic

Luck or Magic
(Double Feature, 2016)

-Genre: airy pop
-In the same type as Lana Del Rey, Belinda Carlisle

Buy the album on the artist’s BandCamp page
Follow the artist via her Facebook page
Listen to videos on the artist’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.