Mysterious, soothing, painful yet oddly therapeutic. These are the words I constantly come across when listening to the latest offering from Los Angeles-based indie outfit Draag. Entitled Clara Luz, this fusion collection of ambient synths and shoegaze rock is an EP that can rival other full length albums in terms of breadth and richness of content. These songs are soaked in lush and glimmering textures that can soften even the hardest soul. On one end evoking loneliness and suffering while on the other providing a space of refuge with gentle melodies and resolutions. The band previously revealed that Clara Luz is about processing trauma, and they’ve delivered that here in spades.
“Ghost Leak” provides the feeling of ethereal suspension. Filled with layered vocals and airy synths that glow with every transition. It’s a song that seamlessly weaves through longing and fondness, with sounds that can make your headphones melt.
“Alternative Privilege” is more inline with shoegaze rock, albeit with a glimmering veneer. It’s a song with the greatest momentum and urgency in the record, fitting perfectly well with its message of liberation: “I’ve lost control / I’m free / I’ll take a change.” The smooth layering of vocals in here is just icing on the cake.
Centerpiece “Trauma Kit” is at the heart of this EP. Crystalline and angelic, it’s pulsing vocal melodies feel like a hymnal, topped off with great instrumentation that uplifts the song with preppy beats and cinematic synths. This is therapy in song form that can pick you up in a pinch.
The EP ends strongly with highlight “Baby Fog”, a 6-minute song filled to the brim with odd drum beats, vocals that glide in slow motion and a hypnotic breakdown that can lull you into a meditative dream-state. It’s atmospheric indie rock with the complexity and technicality of math rock, and a strong emotional backdrop to boot.
With its triumph of having grand soundscapes while still keeping great listenability, one can really tell that Clara Luz was crafted with the love and care for the listener, and with times as crazy as they are nowadays this is something we all can use. Check out Draag and all their music, you won’t be disappointed.