La Luz – La Luz (2021) [FLAC 24bit/88,2kHz]

La Luz – La Luz (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/88,2kHz | Time – 37:28 minutes | 807 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Hardly Art

On their fourth album, California surf-rock band La Luz chill out a bit. There’s little of the needling, propulsive dance music that have inspired audiences to stage dive and crowd surf. Sure, you could still do that to songs like “Metal Man,” with its spaced-out Jetsons synth and hip-shaking bells, but you don’t necessarily want to be aloft when the slow-dredge chorus rolls in. With its throbbing bass, haunted-house keyboards and jangling tambourine, “The Pines” might be the band’s most “dance-y” song on this record. But this is lava-lamp lounge grooviness, not a Pleasure Seekers garage stomp. Excellent “In the Country” is dusty, high-plains-drifter mood music—Spaghetti Western guitars, spooky harmonies and all—undercut by bursts of shooting lasers. “Why leave?/ We can have all we need/ Growing out in the country,” Shana Cleveland sings, perhaps hinting at her life over the past few years, since the new mom left the hustle of Los Angeles for a large piece of land in Northern California. Wurlitzer-propelled slow jam “Watching Cartoons,” which sounds like it could be a Bachelor cover, likewise reflects a new insular desire: “The days all seem so bright/ If you look for me, I’ll be inside/ Watching cartoons.” Meanwhile, “Yuba Rot”—one of two instrumentals on the album, along with foreboding closer “Spider House”— is described in the press materials as “a meditation on the cycle of birth and decay that can feel like the only truth in a world turned upside down.” It’s also a heavyweight swim through molasses. As always, the band’s harmonies are some of the coolest around. They take on a doo-wop style for dreamy ballad “Oh, Blue,” with Cleveland’s mooning earth-angel vocals floating over drunken guitar. “Goodbye Ghost”—with its punchy drums and blustery guitar solo (Cleveland has cited Japanese hot-lick virtuoso Takeshi Terauchi as her greatest guitar inspiration)—finds bassist Lena Simon, and keyboardist Alice Sandahl harmonizing half a beat behind Cleveland, and it’s intriguing. So are the drawn-out, off-kilter harmonies (“leave you reeeeling … I meaaaaan it” of country folk “I Won’t Hesitate.” “I won’t ever hesi…tate” the band sings with just the slightest tease of a pause, like a nod to Carly Simon’s “keeping me wai-ai-ai-ai-aiting” on “Anticipation.”

1. La Luz – In the Country
2. La Luz – The Pines
3. La Luz – Watching Cartoons
4. La Luz – Oh, Blue
5. La Luz – Goodbye Ghost
6. La Luz – Yuba Rot
7. La Luz – Metal Man
8. La Luz – Lazy Eyes and Dune
9. La Luz – Down the Street
10. La Luz – I Won’t Hesitate
11. La Luz – Here on Earth
12. La Luz – Spider House