Alex Maas announced his debut solo album Luca to be released December 4 via Innovative Leisure and shared a lead single called “Been Struggling.” He’s known for singing and playing bass in psychedelic rock band The Black Angels.
“Been Struggling” starts out as a vocals and acoustic guitar kinda song akin to the likes of Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah.” Then the bass line walks in and loudly takes over the song. Shuffling drums join in, followed by additional guitar and vocals. The chorus gets up to a wall of sound in its own way as Maas sings “You should’ve been/Struggling like all of the rest/‘You should’ve been struggling,’ she said/Like all of the rest of them boys.”
The single came with a video by Sam Wainwright Douglas, but most of it is just a psychedelic visualizer of a blurry figure standing out in nature. It does cut away three times, that said, to show a bird nest, a herd of deer running on a snowy road and a boy running through a forest.
Luca is named after Maas’ son, and noted on the press release to mean “bringer of light.” The album shows off a softer side for Maas that doesn’t quite come through in The Black Angels’ massive sound. Some of the songs on the record were written nearly a decade ago, with others more recent. Maas has been recording and co-producing it with front of house engineer Brett Orrison over the last couple of years.
Maas commented that writing the songs used a new side of his brain. “I wanted to go someplace musically that I’ve never gone before,” he explained. Maas later added, “Once I started playing with other people, I realized that these songs were much bigger than I had anticipated.”
The Black Angels haven’t released music together while Maas has been recording this. Their last album was 2017’s Death Song. They have been performing still, although their 2020 appearances at SXSW and Sled Island Music & Arts Festival were cancelled.
Luca track list:
- Slip Into
- The Light That Will End Us
- Been Struggling
- 500 Dreams
- All Day
- Shines Like The Sun
- American Conquest
- The City
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat