Originally Published at The Blue Indian on March 14, 2011.
In just under 32 minutes, Charlotte, NC’s luz (formatted that way) manages to bring you on a bumpy sonic ride of fear, faith, and vulnerability. The goal of this project, seemingly, from a band with such a name, is to illuminate via lyric and musical texture what it means to move from dark to light; despair and disrepair to hope and wholeness. Interspersed with screeching atmospheric guitar and affective ambient noise, the EP is an offering from an honest young artist to do just this.
Stephen Morrison strives to express and discover what it means to have “religion” and “try believing.” The record’s opener, “Nobody Knows My Name,” reads as a hopeful lament. The blues: frustrated with stuck-ness, fearful of the pain that change might involve, but hopeful for that better future. There’s always a tinge of hope in the blues.
“Try Believing” continues this narrative, starts to employing more of the light (than the “other things”) in order to dream of possibilities, and to struggle to find an apt “object for affection.“ The future again proves simultaneously hopeful and dreadful. Kids. Family. Fulfillment. Security. In the immediate present: none of this, and no way to get there. This is an achingly practical take on what it means to believe. To believe that these will come about, to not despair in how long they take to form, and to not force the issue in the meanwhile. The substance of the belief we’re being invited into being “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
The next few tracks shed but more glow on the danger of living this way, leaving behind. “What I Leave” and “Come On Honey” weave eerie vocal harmonies and aggressive guitar sections to form a tapestry of regret-tinged remembrance and forward-moving closure.
Finally, “Effect” (which could have come right off of For Emma, Forever Ago), uses Bon Iver’s sprawling falsetto to close the journey. This is perhaps the short album’s pinnacle, where the band most artfully combines all the threads its been pulling, with the effect of exposing the false and pursuing “new ways to get born.”