Boasting a unique vibe that blends singer/guitarist Jessie Stein’s creaky soprano voice with off-kilter beats and billowing arrangements, The Luyas have carved out a space of their own in a Canadian indie rock scene crowded with idiosyncratic sounds.
The Luyas fall into a bit of a sonic trap, however, on their latest album, Animator. As in the case of fellow Montreal indie-quirk act Grimes—whose Claire Boucher warps and distorts her airy falsetto voice with loads of effects—The Luyas are most compelling when Stein’s wispy delivery is paired with harsher tones. “Fifty Fifty,” “Face,” and “Your Name’s Mostly Water” flirt with My Bloody Valentine–style distortion and the psychedelic funk of Black Moth Super Rainbow, qualities which help anchor the songs’ dreamy flourishes.
Unfortunately, these bright lights are the few beacons on an album that gets lost in the fog of its own palette. It’s a bad omen when opener “Montuno” never really finds its footing during its nearly nine-minute run time, and that warning is borne out over the album’s meandering back half. Nevertheless, there are still many headphone-worthy treats to enjoy on Animator; it’s just a shame that the overall thrust of the record isn’t more animated.
Playlist picks: “Your Name’s Mostly Water,” “Fifty Fifty”
The Luyas play 918 Bathurst Arts Centre (918 Bathurst St.) on Nov. 7.