La Sera - Devils Hearts Grow Gold [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

La Sera

Devils Hearts Grow Gold [7-inch] (2011)

Hardly Art

The cover of La Sera's second release, Devils Hearts Grow Gold, is the perfect introduction to the band. While the basic idea conveyed is easily discernible, two people embracing, the identity of these two people becomes perplexing, with details suggesting all alternatives: Is it a man and wife? A son and mother? Two old women? To that effect, are they embracing at all, or are we catching the person in the back in the middle of an assault on the woman in the front?

" Likewise, La Sera's music obviously pays homage to the thick sound of Phil Specter and the girl groups of Motown, but there's more to the "A" side then mere tribute. Layers and layers of sound are stacked on top of each other, melting into each other, while a church-like chorus of Katy Goodman's breaks through in a circular refrain backed by bells. While the vocals are lovely, because the grooves are wedged with instruments and fading notes, there's an equal chance that the calls are coos of love or that they are wails of anguish. Topped by an obtuse title and lyrics that are washed out by a pulsating piano (glockenspiel?), alls we are left to do is observe, interpreted as we will, and hope everyone made it out okay.

Similarly, the flipside, a cover of the motion workhorse "Dedicated to the One I Love", shows the group masking a clear emotion in favor of ambiguity. While the famous Shirelles version contrasted an upbeat tempo against sullen lyrics, and thus painted a picture of conflicting emotions, La Sera doesn't so much draw conflicting emotions with their take so much as hand you a ball of some alien feeling.

All of this conflict and confusion creates some new unique machine, allowing La Sera call out to their roots while leaving more for interpretation and discovery in four minutes that most bands do in 40.