La Luz: News of the Universe (Sub Pop) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, June 25th, 2024  

La Luz

News of the Universe

Sub Pop

May 24, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

There is a line that comes in the closing seconds of News of the Universe, the new record by California band La Luz, that seems to distill everything that has just transpired into a moment of piercing clarity, a silver bullet of truth. When Shana Cleveland sings “I lost control but I never had it/Nothing will be the same” in the gentle lullaby “Blue Jay,” she conveys the kind of hard-won wisdom that comes with staring down a life-altering event and emerging intact, changed but awake to new possibilities.

The origin story of News of the Universe is one of trauma. Just two years after the birth of her son, Cleveland was diagnosed with breast cancer, a devastating development that left her reeling in shock but also newly attuned to the rhythms of nature and where they inevitably lead, a fresh awareness that is transformed in these songs into a kind of peaceful acceptance. We hear it in the slow-motion dreaminess of “Poppies,” where Cleveland finds comfort in the flower’s emergence against “troubles stacking end to end,” or in the slinky propulsion of “Dandelions,” where the beauty of a summer meadow frames an overdue encounter with a lover. Cleveland is constantly observing evidence of renewal as her world is very possibly falling apart.

Producer Maryam Qudos evokes a retro-leaning atmosphere on the record, balancing wiry guitar fuzz with unfiltered drum sounds and swarming keyboard washes to give the band’s B-movie psychedelia a fresh depth. But the album’s warm airiness is achieved through their signature flourish of glowing, densely layered harmonies—a sound so golden that it seems to bathe you in light. It is also a sound like hope, evidence that Cleveland has managed to locate beauty in darkness. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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