BY CERVANTE POPE // Think “hipster sad-wop,” if you will.
Flash back to 2013-Seattle’s La Luz just released their premiere LP, It’s Alive, and were flying high on the wave of artistic debut. Shortly after the excitement, though, came trauma. A high speed collision crash left the ladies unnerved, yet fiercely determined. They faced any post-crash driving fears by continuing to tour for the next year and a half, leading them to the recording of their sophomore LP, Weirdo Shrine, in San Dimas, Ca. Produced by everyone’s favorite psychedelic fuzz delight Ty Segall, Weirdo Shrine doesn’t stray from La Luz’s cocktail of surf and doo-wop in any way, but careful listening reveals the underlying melancholy beneath the auditory mellow chill.
Among the calamitous theme of death, obsession and infatuation, and loneliness can also be heard through the catchy riffs. Frontwoman and guitarist Shana Cleveland also called to a former fellow Washingtonian, poet and author Richard Brautigan, on the track “Oranges,” to which Brautigan has a poem of the same name. The track pleasantly slugs along, without lyrics, with a slow stammer of the drums and heavy basslines by newest La Luzer Lena Simon. Opening track “Sleep Till They Die” slowly creeps with dulcet cooing, but the most poppy of the record has to be “With Davey,” due to its prominent bassline and easy, sing-a-long lyrics.
Though at first listen it may not seem like La Luz are doing anything musically complex, such is not the case. The album sounds like the music that would’ve been played live at the school dance back in the 50’s but with an eery, West Coast feel to it. Think “hipster sad-wop,” if you will. Production by Segall shambled the cleanliness of La Luz’s playing in only a complementary way. A revitalizing take on the surf/garage/lo-fi music that we’ve all fallen to fandom for, Weirdo Shrine denotes only some of what La Luz is capable of producing.