The last east coast group this month, La Luz is an all female outfit formed in Seattle, Washington. Lead singer Shana Cleveland, Marian Li Pino, Alice Sandahl, and Abby Blackwell. The latter would leave the group in early 2014 after a major accident that had occured months prior, canceling the tour they had been on. She was replaced by Nina Simon who now plays bass for the group.
This album brings the classic Surf Rock style full circle with keys and strong female vocals. The vibe of this album also draws from modern Blues Rock stylings of Jack White and Dan Auerbach (of the Black Keys). The first track that carries the same name as the album is a strong introduction with high swinging guitar riffs and buttery smooth Keys like a wave of sound that glides you carefully into the next song.
What stands out is how unique yet cohesive all of the ripping guitar intros are. For me it’s these instrumental breaks that really make the album. The Beach Rock styling on the guitars and bass really make an album like this. All of the songs are cohesive without being repetitive, and the vocals never fight the instrumentals. But it’s not what this album doesn’t do that makes it good, but what it does. The drums kick in such a beautiful way, and the keys act like glue.
The Lyrics written by cleveland make a very powerful and moving song out of toss away, gag themes on songs like “The Creature” and “Green Machine”. It reminds me of other songs by Tame Impala, Alt-J, and other soft Rock/Alternative groups.
“Cicada” introduces us to the vocals of Cleveland and the rest of the light spoken group. Beyond raw talent, it is important to extract how good everyone harmonizes, on this album specifically. Before this, “Floating Features” is a solely instrumental track that prepares us for the sounds on this album, as well as some more adventurous Guitar and Piano melodies in a psychedelic rock style.
The song “Mean Dream” opens up with an acoustic guitar that sets a more calming tone to this track, which partially contrasts with the faded, dreamy vocals. The pairing is interesting, but makes a good break in the right spot on the album.
Each song on here hits in a spectacular way. I find it hard to decide which songs I want to talk about, but “Lonely Dozer” Sticks out to me, and I think it is because of how it blends the acoustic guitar with the almost Blues Rock guitar and the sharp keys. All of that fits with Cleveland’s soft, airy vocals which split the album up with the refrain coming in at the end of the song, making it one worth listening to all the way through.
I should also mention the song “Green Machine” is four minutes and twenty seconds long. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
The vinyl I purchased one night while irresponsibly online shopping came right from the group’s Bandcamp page, and when it arrived I was caught off guard by the quality, which was impressive for a small label. Hardly Art, the groups label, is a subsidiary of Sub Pop. The cream color is littered with a green wisp, which doesn’t appear much on my copy. The rest of the packaging is solid, and the album art is legendary.