La Luz’s second album was produced and recorded by Ty Segall in a surf shop in San Dimas, California but the Seattle natives have a less sunny disposition in their music, namely a dark end-of season feel to their lo-fi take on surf-rock. There’s also a darker literary inspiration: Charles Burns’ Seattle-set comic book series that describes a sexually transmitted bug that causes grotesque mutations in a set of Seattle teenagers. So far, so weird. The album cover’s 3D hologram and poster (viewed with the accompanying 3D glasses – a reason for buying the physical rather than digital format) further illustrates the strange visions that only La Luz can help you see.
Flying the surf-rock flag are ‘Hey Papi’, a fast, thrashy and twangy instrumental tune while ‘I Wanna Be Alone With You’ has a scorching solo and is driven by Marian Li Pino’s merciless drumming and new bassist Lena Simon. However, the eerie darkness of opening track ‘Sleep Till They Die’ is more typical of Weirdo Shrine, displaying Shana Cleveland’s guitar skills, the Doors-like organ of Alice Sandahl and the stunning girl group harmonies of La Luz all together. Album closer ‘True Love Knows’ is a brilliant dreampop finale, showing off ethereal four-part harmonies and hazy organ drones.
Surf-rock, doo-wop, girl-group pop and even an echo of 50s death ballads are all present in the La Luz sound but it has a modern rawness of emotion and intensity of expression that makes it an essential listen. All-in-all, these are dangerous waters to venture on, with no lifeguards for safety.