Katy Goodman of Vivian Girls fame makes her return to her indie pop identity as La Sera, but this time around her sugary innocence comes with an edge. Sees the Light takes Goodman’s syrupy vocals and turns them into irresistible tales of heartbreak pop. This isn’t your average breakup album suited for sob sessions, but rather the independence and aggression that follow, when you realize, like Goodman herself, that things aren’t so fragile after all.
Sees the Light ditches the brusque garage rock roots of Vivian Girls in favor of girl group-influenced pop, but a palpable aggression gives this sophomore effort an energy her debut lacked. Bits of hazy l0-fi support Goodman’s silky soprano, stealing the show. Whether passive towards an ex on “Love That’s Gone” (admitting that she’s “better off alone now”), or questioning whether he remembers “when you broke my heart” on “I’m Alone”, Goodman’s soft-spoken vocals come across as direct as ever. From the swirling surf rock of “I Can’t Keep You In My Mind” to the fuzz drenched “How Far We’ve Come”, this female-fronted rock comes with an empowered force.
A release for the once aching heart, La Sera’s surf rock is so sunny it wouldn’t be out of place blasting from a beachside boombox. Goodman’s airy falsetto is provided an alluring breeze on which to drift thanks to tropical strings and glossy drums on “Real Boy”, while the villainous “Drive On” incorporates a twirling guitar line with a bubbly refrain to create delicious evil.
Navigating love might be hard for Goodman, but the heartbreak on Sees the Light brings it all together easily.
Essential Tracks: “Please Be My Third Eye”, ”Real Boy”, and “Drive On”