Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Charmed, I'm Sure

La Sera, self-titled,
Hardly Art

Brooklyn singer/bass
player "Kickball" Katy
Goodman (Vivian Girls), AKA La Sera, strikes
out on her own for this
Seattle-recorded debut.

I was charmed by the
first single, "Never
Come Around," and had
high hopes for the rest
of the record. I wasn't
disappointed, though it isn't quite as immediate as the debuts from the Vivian Girls or the Dum Dum Girls. (Comparisons are inevitable, so it seems better to embrace than to resist them.)

Instead, La Sera reminds me more of Frankie Rose and the
(Rose has played with the Vivian Girls and the Dum Dum
Girls). In other words, it's more of a grower, but Goodman al-
so combines delicate vocals with dusky surf-garage melodies.

At first listen, the reverb-drenched "Never Come Around" is
the clear stand-out, while the other cuts are more amorphous,
but on subsequent spins, their subtle hooks grew in stature.

"Sleeptalking," for instance, sounds like a female-sung Mighty
Lemon Drops song, while "Devils Hearts Grow Gold" has an en-
chanting nursery rhyme-like quality and "Left This World" re-
calls Heavenly with its sprinkling of tambourine and hand claps.
Explains Hardly Art, "Her inspiration sprung from an attraction
to early pop hits from the 1950s and ethereal choir vocals."

Click here for "Devils Hearts Grow Gold" mp3 and here for video.

Though Goodman has a pleasant voice, I wouldn't call it forceful,
but I don't consider that a problem, since the spare, yet effective
production indicates that she understands her limitations (she
collaborated with producer/multi-instrumentalist Brady Hall).

She often sings at the top of her range, but never pushes too hard
or overwhelms the instrumentation. Instead, her multi-tracked
vocals float around the guitar, bass, and drums; sometimes rising
above, sometime melting into the mix. Very charming indeed.

Endnote: Image from SXSW. During the fest, La
plays the Austin Convention Center on Thurs-
day, 3/17. For more information, please click here.

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