I was ready to hate La Sera. For they are (or rather she is, what with La Sera being the solo project of Katy Goodman) yet another girl group throwback, a Vivian Girl and a resident of Brooklyn. It may as well have come with a “99% more fuzz than the leading brand!” sticker on its cover. But despite the odds being stacked way against her, Goodman’s done good and produced an album that’s short, sweet and direct whilst never lapsing into familiarity or mediocrity. In part it’s down to her background as a drummer which leaves punchy and accomplished beats at the heart of all these songs, as opposed to the fuzzed up guitar overload that’s defined the scene that she is (in part) responsible for. Couple that with her unexpectedly varied vocal range, which glides from lovelorn to understatedly raw, and Sees the Light suddenly seems very capable of standing on its own.
Sees The Light’s 10 tracks rarely sound like anything Goodman has had a hand in producing previously and for the large part are more akin to the retro pop of Cults or the breezy nonchalance of Real Estate. Please Be My Third Eye is rough and ready with garage rock influences counterpointed with sweetness and killer melodies, whilst I Can’t Keep You in My Mind has a grungey stomp and perfectly executed swathes of stern but dreamy guitars.
Only once does the album fall flat, on penultimate track How Far We've Come Now, which buries the gorgeous vocals of the rest of the record in a needless whirr of distortion and Black Tambourine aping percussion, it sounds anachronistic when following the tropical stylings of Real Boy, what with its omnipresent cowbell and lilting vocal line. But even a dud like this serves as a sign that Goodman doesn’t need to rely on old tricks and tread familiar ground to sound good and although she’s only breaking her personal musical boundaries, the breadth of styles and sounds on Sees The Light indicate that La Sera are onto something good, and given that they released their first album only a year ago, it wouldn’t be surprising to expect much more in the near future.