Released: 11 May 2018
Label: Hardly Art
La Luz walk the line between their trusted surf-noir and a heavier dose of spaghetti western with a tremendous sure-footing on third album 'Floating Features'.
Published in The Skinny
An elevated level of bravado is present from the outset on La Luz’s third album, Floating Features. The gaze of the L.A. quartet’s previous offerings, Weirdo Shrine and It’s Alive, was directed almost solely towards the darker side of surf-rock with the odd flirtatious glance at acid western. However, their latest venture embraces the spiralling spaghetti sound with a greater might and fuses it with that scuzzy beach vibe that they sell so well.
The album’s eponymous inaugural track is a dastardly defiant ditty, rife with twanging steel, a trembling organ and cutting percussion; the only thing preventing it from soundtracking a dusty gunslinging odyssey is a Mexican horn climax. Henceforth, the La Luz ladies flex their instrumental and tonal refinement to trophy levels.
Underlying the album’s entirety is a thick sense of mystery, like a mist that lingers with malice over crashing waves. This helps to bolster the diversity of tracks featured while giving them opportunities to expand their scope without losing focus. Loose Teeth puts their surf-noir stylings staunchly at the forefront with Marian Li Pino’s rumbling drums and Shana Cleveland’s reverb-laden guitar. Greed Machine is a psyched-out, slow-burn and jangled-jaunt into lunacy. My Golden One’s breathy harmonies bind with Li Pino’s hypnotic rhythm, seducing with its swagger before Cleveland stabs with a staccato dagger.
Never is the album inaccessible with its darkness though; it’s more of a perpetual twilight that the four are governed by. Their lighter side is displayed most notably with Walking into the Sun, which could be the catalyst at an 80s prom to lower the disco ball and shower the lovers underneath with its twinkling droplets.
Influenced by their city, its denizens, its tales, its landscape, its madness, its hopes, the album portrays L.A. as though a character torn by conflicting realities, duelling personas and a romantic thought for when times get rough: 'should I paddle west on a board or gallop east on a saddle?'