La Luz, “Floating Features”

La Luz
Floating Features
HARDLY ART
7/10

Every once in a while, a band takes a leap. Not just a change of sound, style, or substance, but a jump from being a group to keep an eye on to one that knocks you over. The Seattle-bred, LA-based foursome La Luz are that band, and Floating Features is that album. At eleven songs and thirty-six minutes, the group builds on everything they’ve done—It’s Alive and Weirdo Shrine—and morphs it into a sound noteworthy in its advancement. Floating Features is La Luz at their creative apex to date, turning their garage rock early days into something shimmering and alluring, yet laced with venom and sharp edges.

“Cicada” pairs surf rock guitar with a dusty, twangy western vibe, while “Loose Teeth” parks the group back in the garage and scuffs up the edges in a bouncy, post-punk anthem. “California Finally” serves as a band thesis of sorts—not only literally, but in the way the off-kilter drums, haunting vocals from Shana Cleveland as she sings “I’ll do what I want,” and a propulsive bass line from Lena Simon coalesce into an assured yet loosely felt statement.

The threads that made La Luz so lovable on their first two LPs still bind Floating Features together: The sharp and infectious girl group harmonies, the way the drums clang and blast, and Cleveland’s lead vocals telling stories of westward yearning and home left behind (she’s originally from Kalamazoo) are all still readily apparent. But from there, the foursome turns their style on its head, polishing the seams and tightening the screws. With their march south to LA, La Luz has embraced the dream so many chase after in the City of Angels. Unlike most, though, they also seem to be en route to making it come true.

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