Dream-Inspired Surf Rock
With their third studio album, Floating Features, LA’s latest inhabitants La Luz reflect on dreams and “physical and psychological landscapes” as they further establish themselves as one of the craftiest and most ambitious surf rock bands in the business. 2013s It’s Alive and 2015s Weirdo Shrine, both exquisite and effortlessly catchy in their own right, helped to form La Luz’s audience. What sets La Luz apart is their ability to craft something fresh on almost every song. Guided by a wide breadth of influences, their music isn’t repetitive; it somehow breathes new life into an already fresh genre. So, on their new album Floating Features, La Luz gracefully channel old maestros like Link Wray and Dick Dale, yet still manage to bring a unique authenticity that helps evolve surf rock music. Moreover, the group seems to have embraced the noir sensibilities of their new home: as such, Floating Features floats along like a train at midnight.
The opening track, the titular “Floating Features,” is a cascading introduction to a groovy record. La Luz doesn’t waste any time familiarizing the listener with their particular style of captivating rock music. Instead, much like the powers of a dream, they suck us right in. “Cicada” is a hypnotizing blend of keyboard and drum rhythms, while the fuzzy guitars on “Loose Teeth” beckon the qualities of an all-encompassing nightmare—“lost in a dream,” sings Shana Cleveland as the song dissipates into the aptly titled “Mean Dream.”
The blissful “Mean Dream” (whose chorus echoes that on Parquet Courts’ “Steady On My Mind”) conjures up images of dream scenes as well: lines like “Sun King, mean dream, love me so far downstream” are delivered with such sugary harmony that it actually pushes you to try and make out every word. The track “California Finally” reflects on a distinct California state-of-mind, a certain dream-like haze that comes with a day at the beach under a cloudless sky. Dreams even seem to manifest into physical objects as well, such as on the psychedelic track, “The Creature,” which describes a hallucinatory figure straight out of a dream.
Floating Features manages to combine the best of La Luz’s talents, and the result is an infectious record that is sure to engage listeners new and old—and perhaps ignite yet another surf revival.