Seattle’s La Luz released their second album on August 7th via Hardly Art, and the Ty Segall-produced Weirdo Shrine is living up to its name in a mellow, fuzzed-out cruise through songs about being on the creepy side of a love story, and also death. Inspired by a Charles Burns graphic novel about teens in ’70s Seattle spreading a symptom-morphing STD, the album pairs nicely bizarre, dark content with traditional surf melodies that contain a minor chord progression and continuous hiss—a subversive sound that’s not necessarily unique but feels totally satisfying all the same.
Pitchfork has marked the album for its touch on the wicked, saying, “The undercurrent of darkness in La Luz’s music is what makes their work so fierce and intelligent. You could blink and miss their sneaky, underhanded way of slipping unease into their cheerful-sounding songs. Which is why you should give them more of your attention.” Consequence of Sound hailed their “humid aesthetic,” NPR said “there’s a deep intensity and knowing behind all that mellow,” and A.V. Club compared the album to Quentin Tarantino’s use of surf tracks in Pulp Fiction:
The last time that the surf-rock aesthetic sounded anywhere close to this vibrant or vital was when Quentin Tarantino decided to bookend Pulp Fiction with “Miserlou” by Dick Dale and “Surf Rider” by The Lively Ones. Just like in that film, La Luz uses the music as a framework to underscore the more unpleasant aspects of human nature. Weirdo Shrine is a burnt-orange filter thrown over a world of dark gray.
And the video for the track “Black Hole, Weirdo Shrine” follows the vibe incredibly well—Stereogum said “chances are you haven’t seen something this strange set in the old west since Jodorowsky’s El Topo.” We’re not sure we’d go that far, but director Meghan Tryon’s melted, pixilated desert-landscape-turned-pop-nightmare is still pretty great. Check out upcoming tour dates here.