[sic] Magazine

La Sera – Hour Of The Dawn

With the demise of Vivian Girls came the death of “Kickball” Katy. Now Katy Goodman just has La Sera and Hour Of The Dawn is all the better for it. As a solo artist she’s always favoured the dreamy and pastoral end of the garage-pop spectrum, her cutesy harmonies fuzzed up but free of disruptive feedback. On Hour Of The Dawn she’s freer still.

“I wanted to have fun” she says in the press release, “I wanted the new La Sera record to sound like Lesley Gore fronting Black Flag.” Well, it doesn’t sound like that, but it does pick up where the catchy 2012 single “Please Be My Third Eye” left off, the track’s heavyweight guitars setting the tone for the opener here. “Losing To The Dark” is easily the angriest and most rocking cut we’ve yet heard from Goodman. She’ll never manage snotty, but suffice it to say that she’s deeply unimpressed with some drunkard in her life here. All the same it’s the guitars that do most of the talking.

Touring guitarist Todd Wisenbaker is more or less Goodman’s silent partner in La Sera these days but he makes his presence known here, really getting his wail on while she coos her way around the track’s Best Coast-like melody. The remainder of Hour Of The Dawn rarely gets this loud again – in the main it’s the carefree pop we’d expect – yet she and Wisenbaker are clearly enjoying themselves, ripping out neat solos and dialled-up drums in between Goodman’s lovely vocals. The pleasant title track, for example, speeds by in a sepia blur before ending in a rickety blowout. The poppy “Kiss This Town Away” drops a couple of deep crunches into its serene surf-garage mix. “Summer Of Love” too peals out a dreamy surf solo amidst plentiful hooks.

Wisenbaker takes over almost completely on “Storm’s End”, on which Goodman is reverbed into incomprehensibility and, for the first and last time, loses her identity. Nevertheless it all seems so easy for Goodman that she’s probably incapable of poor songcraft (the chiming, Fleetwood Mac-like “Control” is a bit dull though). The only criticism that can be levelled as her really is that she’s sometimes guilty of being unoriginal (the wistful jangle “Fall In Place” plagiarises herself if anything), but when you have impeccable taste does it really matter? Vive la reine.

Best tracks: “Losing To The Dark” and “Running Wild”

~Hour Of The Dawn is released June 2nd 2014 via Hardly Art.~

[sic] review – Sees The Light