La Sera – Sees the Light

Rating: ★★★★ ·

In 2011, Katy Goodman stepped away from the Vivian Girls and made her first record under this new moniker. That album was the essence of a dream, with echoes upon echoes of vocals layered on ethereal pop instrumental in the background. A lot must have changed since then; relationships broken, new attitudes adopted, and an overall new sound for La Sera on Sees the Light, a sound which goes in a bold, good, direction.

From the very start of the album you can pick up on the new changes for the band. If it’s any indication of a change, the first track on the self titled release of last year was “Beating Heart,” whereas Sees the Light begins with “Love That’s Gone,” and we have the new, bitter and resolved Katy Goodman. Instantly you can hear this change in the music: the dreamy washes of echo on the vocals are gone, the drums are more centralized, giving a real and solid feel to the song. It’s as if the honeymoon period of dreams is over and what’s left is a woman scorned, trying to move away from the gay melodies of yesterday.

After the first song gets things going on Sees the Light, the second song, “Please Be My Third Eye,” takes it up a notch, increasing the pace and the level of intensity; the drums are always pushing, the guitars are guttural, and Goodman commands the song, pushing it around to show her strength. This strength continues on through the next few songs, and then enters into a more reserved state on “It’s Over Now,” which is the first real breakdown on the album. The placement of this slower, more morose song this far along into the progression of tracks helps to convey some emotion that is perhaps lost on the faster songs; Goodman doesn’t ignore the pain completely, she just channels it in different ways.

Essentially, it’s a break-up album, but whereas most of those tend to linger on the whiny, sorrow-filled, my heart was broken-listen-to-me cry-about-it, songs, La Sera focuses on channeling this sorrow into faster paced, bolder, and overall stronger pop tunes. It’s not a step to weakness, but rather a step away from it, and a focus on the strength that has always lied behind those spunky, girlish vocals. The emergence of this lingering power is what separate Sees the Light from the previous album and allows it to stand as a cohesive album as opposed to a series of cute songs strung together.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/La_Sera_-_Break_My_Heart.mp3]

Download: La Sera – Break My Heart [MP3]

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