Music playback is the foundation of the iPhone as we know it, but unfortunately, the native Music app is a teeny bit too safe, meaning while it functions to nigh-on perfection, it doesn’t have the cutting-edge looks and visual features of the increasing number of alternatives out there. In short, it does enough to stop us complaining, but doesn’t quite offer enough to prevent us from window shopping.

If you’ve slipped into something of a routine with the stock Music app (or iPod app if you’re still rocking iOS 4), and gotten used to its demeanor, then you may be quite taken aback by LuminousPlayer, which give a very simplistic, retro feel to the music playing experience. Highly customizable, it’s more than just a skin, and will allow you to select from a bunch of EQ options you may not otherwise have thought existed.

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Seeing as its UI consists of luminous colors on a dark backdrop, it looks infinitely better on the black iDevice, and once you’ve selected your music, you simply press play and enjoy the audible ambiance. You can switch between a variety of different colors and equalizer options, and when switching tracks, it crossfades quite nicely – adding to the smooth, modern feel of what is otherwise a throwback of an app.

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Pre-iPhone, I used to mess around with iPodLinux and Rockbox on the first few generations of iPod, and LuminousPlayer certainly brings back some vivid memories of those times. Before iOS, playing FLAC, WAV, ogg vorbis or any of the other decent formats on an Apple device wasn’t as simple as downloading a third-party app and dragging and dropping via iTunes, and you needed to essentially utilize the "jailbreak" methods of the time to run anything outside Apple’s strictest of cordons.

LuminousPlayer perfectly encapsulates the good features of older players, while also offering top-notch functionality representative of the times. At $1.99, it’s a must-have for music fans, although it does have its shortcomings. Primarily, some of the EQ options are a little rough around the edges, and churn a decent tune into an echo-ridden, rough-sounding mess. Also, although you can easily tweet your currently playing tune with a touch of a button, it won’t display it for your personal reference, which is of minor annoyance.

Download LuminousPlayer for iPhone [iTunes link]

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