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Having dropped their debut EP Damp Face back in late 2012, Seattle-based four-piece La Luz seem more than ready to embark on their first full-length adventure - in fact, they've included two of the EP's most prominent tracks on their debut album ('Call Me In The Day' and the LP's opener 'Sure As Spring'). In spite of sharing the title with The Ramones' fifth album (their double live extravaganza), It's Alive has little to nothing to do with three-chord raw punk. Relying on extra-smooth, wicked surf-rock, their debut offering is an extraordinary piece of post-grunge with tracks that could (and should) be included in a Tarantino movie.

Stamping themselves as doo-wop fans (as well as Phil Spector-inspired girl groups), La Luz mix über-perfect vocal harmonies with a melancholy beat. The result is an astonishing soundtrack perfectly fitted for a late midsummer sunset. 'Sure As Spring' hits you right in the middle of the eyes - its surfy guitars blended lovingly with an anxious, retro keyboard while their smooth voices sound as distant as the Mojave desert. 'All The Time' is less nervous but keeps its predecessor's steady beat, while 'Morning High' vaguely reminds us of The Breeders' debut (probably due to the laid back, post punk vocals). Slow-paced 'What Good Am I?' sounds like a teenage thriller movie, with the drums slowly making room for the guitar's lament while the keyboards once again haunt the melody.

The arabic-sounding 'Sunstroke' mixes both proto-grunge darkness and neo-psych trance-like despair - a minute-and-a-half long instrumental that works as a brief intermission to the rest of the album, which is followed by the album's title-track. 'Big Big Blood' is, of course, inspired by horror B-movies; in fact, La Luz released the track's promo video last November and it was filled with creepy dolls and other Giallo-related horrors in a tribute to Argento and his mates.

And here comes 'Call Me In The Day', the track that made me fall in love with them in the first place, although in a slightly different mix than the one included on their Damp Face EP; this song always makes me think of Mexican borders, old women sitting outside their homes staring at the copper-coloured landscape under the burning afternoon sun while a procession of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe passes by. 'Pink Slime' and 'Phantom Feelings' (another instrumental piece, and one of my favourite tracks from the album) prepare the record's closure - a languid hypnotic tune called 'You Can Never Know' that leaves a slight tone of mystery in the air.

Mostly seen as a guys-only genre, Surf Rock hasn't changed that much since the '50s, so its highest challenge is undoubtedly approaching it without either simply copying what's already been done before, or changing it in such a way that it becomes unrecognisable. La Luz (which means "the light" in Spanish) have done an excellent job reprising the nostalgic vibes of West Coast beaches by mixing them with more urban influences, and therefore achieving a steady, cohesive album.