La Sera - La Sera (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

La Sera

La Sera (2011)

Hardly Art

"Take it from me, if a dude does you wrong, start a band and write an album about how you hate him," Katy Goodman, the mind behind La Sera, stated on her Twitter account.* While I don't know if La Sera's self-titled debut is that album, the album seems rooted with her angelic ire, which creates a haunting but beautiful series of indictments.

Although La Sera has a shifting lineup, on this LP all the music was written by Goodman, also of the Vivian Girls. Although she handled all the vocal duties, the instruments were recorded from Goodman's demos by Brady Hall, the director of a few Vivian Girls videos.

Immediately, the band taps into the same source as those great early Motown and soul classics. "Beating Heart" begins with a kick drum mimicking the vital organ only to drift into Goodman whispering "Don't go away." As on this track, and the album's entirety, Goodman uses her voice as much for lyrics as an instrument. Choirs of Goodmans float around the rolling instrumentals, cooing and humming, sometimes approaching the multileveled effects of a Greek chorus.

But where La Sera takes flight is in the depth of sound and meaning to each song. As with the songs not on their earlier releases, La Sera's tunes rarely can be taken at face value. When she states "You're going to cry," is she talking to her ex-paramour, or herself? Digging into the lyrics, which are somewhat obfuscated by the multi-layered vocals and which often bleed into the instruments themselves, yields new layers of meaning, which in turn causes the meaning to sink deeply, only to finally cause one to realize that perhaps you have dug too deep, are seeing things that aren't there, and now, there's no way out.

Although opaqueness is one of the album's true assets, it also interestingly allows for a great deal of listener input. Although a sort of melancholy drips through the album, rare does Goodman admit that she's angry here or depressed here. Rather, the scenarios created in each of the songs seem to have their piece-sputa by Goodman, and allow the listener to play the scenario out.

If this album is what Goodman does when slighted by former sweethearts, then her loss is our gain. Let's hope a few more dudes take one for the team so these angelic (but possibly vengeful) tunes keep coming.

* - Yeah, yeah, I know, twitter stalking is creepy. I got issues, man.