La Luz – Weirdo Shrine (ALBUM REVIEW)

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laluzalbumThe four piece Seattle based La Luz specialize once again in their unique haunting brand of Surf-Noir on their sophomore release, expertly titled Weirdo Shrine. Produced this time by Ty Segall the group adds layers of dread to sunny surf pop creating a winner.

From the opening notes of the spacey western tinged “Sleep Til They Die” the La Luz are clearly wrestling with larger forces, which could stem from the bands near fatal van crash they survived in 2013. The punchy and short “With Davey” adds punkish appeal but it is the more elusive tracks like “Don’t Wanna Be Anywhere” that are lyrically detached/cold but whose flamenco tinged lead guitar and smooth bass supports clacking sticks and cymbals, elevating the vibrant warmth.

“Hey Papi” is an angsty instrumental of killer surf rock and “Black Hole, Weirdo Shine” incorporates organs and strategically messes with tempos. The aloof dreaminess of “I Can’t Speak” and closer “True Love Knows” both fall in the groups warbling sweet spot of genre-meshing. The only issue arises when lyrics and the singing style of Shana Cleveland seems to be at odds with the instrumental direction of the band, like on “You Disappear” where things get clunky as the band is soaring and vocally slowed down.

That is a tiny issue though as the band, and Cleveland’s pedal aided guitar lines are clearly flying high for the disk. The track “I Wanna Be Alone (With You)” puts it all together as a complete package; A prominent bass line pairing with sturdy drums lead the way, before the gorgeous fuzz guitar and backing ooh-and ahh’s seal the deal. La Luz sound fantastic and have amplified their own brightness for Weirdo Shrine.

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