La Luz: La Luz [Album Review]

| |

La Luz
La Luz
Hardly Art Records [2021]

La Luz continue to refine their sound with every record they release and when their drummer left the band, reducing the group to a trio, it set up a perfect scenario for change for their fourth LP. The self-titled album slows down their surf psych rock and expands their reach as it offers a much more sonic journey that not only wraps a more surreal haze around its twelve tracks but also finds singer Shana Cleveland exploring and expressing a more personal side in her lyrics.

Instead of jumping right into tracks with guitars, La Luz now turns up the warmth in all their instruments as they expand the range of their keyboards and find a new strength in their harmonies. The songs here now have a much more moody edge that showcases all the members experience playing together since 2012. You can hear this new found confidence on opening track “In The Country,” which incorporates some electronic spacey effects shooting off in the background as the band layers their vocals and the western surf guitar lines now play more behind the scenes compared to out front on previous outings. These subtle tweaks to the formula show again on the next track “In Pines,” which has a nice foot tapping beat but never hurries you along. On other songs, you get the feeling of a relaxed day which you never want to end like on “Watching Cartoons” with its stellar chorus that feels like you are drifting with a wave or the “ahhs” and “oohs” that circle behind Cleveland on “Oh, Blue” right before its excellent surf guitar and keyboard solo duel in its middle.

When you talk about the modern day psychedelic movement you need to put La Luz in your “must hear” list of bands. This record creates such a cool atmosphere with just the right amount of reverb and harmony that it is very hard to walk away from. It is also important to note that the band collaborated with producer Adrian Younge, who has worked with Kendrick Lamar, Roy Ayers, Ghostface Killah, and A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Younge for sure helped the group move outside their normal box to make this record ebb and flow at all the right moments. From the upbeat “Metal Man” to the swaying “Down The Street,” La Luz stay consistently in control as their timeless psychedelic is addicting and only gets increasingly better as you play the album again!

Key Tracks: “In The Country” / “Metal Man” / “Down The Street”

Artists With Similar Fire: Kikagaku Moyo / The Shivas / Wax Machine

Review History: Floating Features (2018) / Weirdo Shrine (2015) / It’s Alive (2013)

La Luz Website
La Luz Facebook
Hardly Art Records

Christopher Anthony
Latest posts by Christopher Anthony (see all)

Animal Collective – “Prester John” [Video]

Ghost Woman – “Do You” [Video]


Leave a Comment