La Luz return grimly aware of the creeping threat of city life and its unavoidable devastation on ‘In The Country’.
Words: Brad Harris | Photo: Pooneh Ghana
In English, la luz simply means ‘The Light’. There’s something eerily pretty to this spectral choice of name, suggestive of both the golden warmth of light itself, and the things outside of it too. La Luz as a band operate on similar terms. Underneath the oohs and ahhs of their The Shirelles-inspired sound exists a universe of cosmic fascination and unnerving feeling.
However, where on previous records, frontwoman Shana Cleveland expressed the feeling of unease of her native Los Angeles, where reality and fiction co-exist side by side, latest release, In the Country, carries a folk-tinged mood that came about as a result of her move to the country. “Being out in the middle of nowhere” she says, “makes it easy to imagine how it would be possible to leave society all together”, grimly aware of the creeping threat of city life and its unavoidable devastation.
Alongside producer Adrian Younge, a name generally associated with neo-soul and R&B, Cleveland and the rest of the band carefully develop their reverb drenched surf-rock style into something more sombre, dreamy, and altogether out of time. “Some of the most unnatural elements of the arrangement (synthesizers, fuzz, effects) create an atmosphere around the instruments that ends up feeling very natural – I can hear bugs buzzing around and bird sounds in different directions” she says, and it’s worth paying attention to these elements, because as is often the case with La Luz, what manages to keep them interesting is those Lynchian layers hidden underneath their carefully crafted clean front.