La Sera – s/t

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Rating: ★★★ · ·

Known for her bass playing in pop punk super star band Vivian Girls, Katy Goodman has been looking for side projects since spring of last year. She tried her ways under the moniker of All Saints Day, and even released a seven inch. However, it apparently didn’t stick, and Ms. Goodman moved onto her latest project. Enter: La Sera.

 Like Vivian Girls, La Sera has those cutting guitars and the presence of Goodman’s wispy vocals. However, while her voice takes a backseat on her full time band, it is the main element of distinction to this album. On “Beating Heart,” the opening song, her voice is layered upon itself to create echoed sugared oohs in the background. The clear guitar contrasts with this vocal quality, and builds up to the breaking point of the song. This is when the clarity of the guitar shifts muddier, wrapping up the bubbly lo-fi track before its close. Next is “Never Come Around,” one of the singles from the album. Some tambourine spices things up right off the bat, mixing effortlessly with sunny vocals and thus the airy yet viscous song—the norm for this album.

I think what makes this album decent is that Goodman knows her limitations; most of the songs barely reach two minutes, which sharpens the difference in between them, so that the listener doesn’t get caught up in the thick and sticky jangly songs that this album is chalked full of. In this way, the album is able to have those crests and troughs, all while staying close to that happy medium. It doesn’t become too complex for its own good and frankly none of the songs are what I would call bad or boring.

While its shortness is what makes La Sera, it also seems to be what breaks it. When reaching the end of this quick burst of energy album, it’s fairly easy to forget the latter part. The simplicity of the whole thing turns on itself, and suddenly it’s over, and you haven’t really been taken anywhere: like running on a treadmill. Slight fluctuations were present, the songs varied, but there was never that pop punk power punch that knocked your socks off and left you satisfied.

All in all, it’s still a pretty good way to spend thirty minutes of your life. Goodman hypnotizes you with her serene pop/lo-fi tunes, as any good jangly guitar album should.

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Download: La Sera – Devil’s Hearts Grow Gold [MP3]

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