Although the band was formed in Seattle, La Luz never sounded like they belonged in the Pacific Northwest. The garage-pop four-piece’s reverb-heavy music felt far too laid-back and dreamy to have emerged from the damp climes of the Emerald City. Perhaps heeding the sonic call that came from within their first two full-lengths (2013’s It’s Alive and 2015’s Weirdo Shrine), the group picked up stakes and relocated to Southern California, where they concocted their latest and greatest album, Floating Features.
If the new LP is anything to go on, the move hasn’t changed La Luz all that much—Floating Features fits comfortably into the band’s steady trajectory. Instead, the new environs have inspired principal songwriter Shana Cleveland to dig deeper into the essential building blocks of her group’s aesthetic. The tempo and mood are more languid, with even the peppiest tracks feeling like they’ve been pitched down a few beats per minute for maximum hallucinatory effect. And when things slow down, as on the swimmy “My Golden One” and the stoned “Walking into the Sun,” it’s like a glorious overdose of cheap beer and vitamin D.
Cleveland reveals the impact of La Luz’s new ZIP code within Floating Features’ lyrics—there’s plenty of giddy romanticism, a few pangs of regret, and some discomforting memories of recent nightmares. But the core of the album is found in “California Finally,” a sigh of relief delighting in “one endless summer after another” and finding the peace to do what she wants, at her own unhurried pace. Sounds damn enticing. Who knew dreams still came true in Los Angeles?