Recorded by Ty Segall in a makeshift surf shop studio, ‘Weirdo Shrine’ is doom surf band La Luz’s follow up LP to their 2013 debut ‘It’s Alive’. With songs about loneliness, infatuation, obsession and death, ‘Weirdo Shrine’ is eleven tracks of bittersweet, garage/sixties girl group inspired dark surf.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 11 August 2015
With a little bit of ghostly surf sheen and some Ty Segall production work, La Luz have created ‘Weirdo Shrine’, a record that can flick a switch between emotive garage balladeering and spooky psych funtimes. This record sounds like it was recorded in a dark room next to the beach, both incredibly slick and full of reverberating, wall-shaking chords. Hearing the ferocious rhythms of “You Disappear” run concurrently with as many showy riffs as possible makes this band sound like a dye in the wool psych act; hearing them come together on a bright harmony makes them sound like friends holidaying.
La Luz’s version of this sound is actually the most dynamic I’ve heard all year; they keep the tempo on lockdown with wonderful forward-momentum drumming that can be called back and then released to devastating effect, but always introduce new motifs to replace or join old ones. The wah-ing guitar of “With Davey” joins the skittering percussive march and acoustic strumming of “With Davey” to create something of a pop hit adventure. While these songs all sound oddly individual for a simple surf venture, switching vibes at will, they’re tethered by their production, which constantly reminds the listener that this record was made in a time and a place. “Don’t Wanna Be Anywhere” may sound a whole lot more joyous and straightforward than the rest of the record, but it still shakes out a few wobbly chords.
It’s better when La Luz are going full throttle towards the end of the race, but the band still do minor melancholy better than most fuzz bands of the last five or so years. “I Can’t Speak” melts super-old beach harmonies with umbrella-up bass and then kisses the whole thing off with a silly bit of old-school synth, both keeping the sadness of the tune and kicking it around a bit. It sounds more impressive than it does genuinely upsetting. This record is a real surprise; it rules.
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- Weirdo Shrine by La Luz
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