La Luz  – La Luz : Album Review

La Luz release a shining diamond of a fourth album, full of great songs, and their fabulous blend of harmonies, surf guitar, psychedelic keyboards, and an intoxicating dance beat.

Release date: 22 October 2021

Label: Hardly Art Records

Format: CD / Vinyl / Digital

La Luz, were founded in 2012 in Seattle, Washington, and their new self-titled album, is their fourth studio album. The band consists of Shana Cleveland, guitar and lead vocals, Alice Sandahl, keyboards and backing vocals, and Lena Simon, bass and backing vocals.

Their sound is an incredible and totally endearing mix, of exquisite 1960s style west coast harmonies, surf guitar and swirling psychedelic keyboards, driven by a full on rhythm and blues beat. Their dynamic live shows have previously provided for Soul Train styled dance contests and crowd surfing, so their live UK shows next year should be quite something to be a part of. 

Album opener, In The Country, is imbued with an irresistible elegiac and pastoral vibe. The three piece harmonies are simply gorgeous, and Shana Cleveland’s guitar accompaniment evokes the playing of the great Hank Marvin of the Shadows.  Alice Sandahl’s keyboards provide a palette of spacy psychedelic flourishes, that only add further to the charm of the song. 

Oh, Blue has the tinge of a country and western lament, and takes flight with the evocative lines from the chorus:  “Now when I wake up I never know just where I am/As the news alludes the planet’s fixed for bitter men”.  Lena Simon’s bluesy bass is here right to the front of the mix, and adds a marvellously expansive instrumental level to this great song.

Goodbye Ghost is full of great twisting melodies, and is driven by some edgy and spiky rhythms, that are sure to lead to live audiences moving into dancing mode. Shana’s guitar solo throws out some striking angular lines, that draw you further into the track. By this point in the album, you know you are completely smitten with this fantastic music. Music that is so alive, and driven by a sense of adventure and invention, drawing on a classic 50s and 60s pop legacy, and launching it into a contemporary context.

Two more stellar highlights on the rest of the album that should be mentioned, although there are so many musical gems on the album, it is a hard choice on what to highlight. Down The Street, with its acoustic intro, is a beguiling slice of Brill Building pop, that sparkles and shimmers, as the backing harmonies soar over the music. Here On Earth evokes the genre of 1950s science fiction films and would fit quite comfortably on a film soundtrack. All the ingredients, of a dream like lead vocal, spiraling harmony vocals, percussive effects and tender guitar chords, combine to create the perfect cinematic track.

So, a brightly shining diamond of an album, that you can’t afford to be without, as we emerge into the light from the pandemic. La Luz are touring the UK in April 2022, visiting Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham, London, Bristol and Brighton. Buff up your dancing footwear and witness this terrific band live for yourself.

Watch the official video for the track In the Country here: 

La Luz: Website / Facebook / Twitter

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