Pop Addict: La Sera’s Sees the Light

Every other week, Pop Addict presents infectious tunes from contemporary musicians across indie rock, pop, folk, electronica, and more.

La Sera: Sees the LightLa Sera: Sees the Light (Hardly Art, 3/27/12)

La Sera: “Please Be My Third Eye”

[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/La-Sera-Please-Be-My-Third-Eye.mp3|titles=La Sera: “Please Be My Third Eye”]

When she’s not making lo-fi garage rock as the bassist of Brooklyn trio Vivian Girls, Katy Goodman has been keeping busy with her solo project, La Sera. Last year’s solid self-titled debut showed a more pared-down side to Goodman, as the album was loaded with an arsenal of dreamy indie folk. This year, La Sera has shifted directions a bit, and her latest effort, Sees The Light, is packed full of upbeat, peppy indie-pop gems.

A few tracks in, it’s apparent that the songs are both heavy and light, simultaneously. Though La Sera is content to, for the most part, downplay the album’s rough-edged rock element (which often stands at the forefront of Vivian Girls records), Sees The Light pays close attention to melody while weaving threads of true-blue indie rock into the record’s fabric. “Please Be My Third Eye” easily could fit on a Vivian Girls album (though its vocal hooks might surpass anything the triumvirate of female rockers has done); the fuzzed-out and infectious “Break My Heart” is one of the best indie-pop songs to come out this year; and “How Far We’ve Come” finds the perfect blend of heart-strumming acoustics and deranged, distorted guitars.

But though Goodman’s experience with Vivian Girls is a clear influence here, Sees The Light approaches the other side of her talents — leaning to a more sweet-sounding aesthetic of Tennis and Best Coast. And that’s where the real success of La Sera appears — in Goodman’s ability to straddle the line between full-fledged rock-outs and introverted, singer-songwriter-esque panoramas (the latter of which are more prevalent on La Sera’s debut). Sees The Light is not mellow, but it’s not loud, either. It has found a comfortable middle ground, and Sees The Light never feels unfocused or unrefined.

This is where the album breaks away from La Sera’s debut. And with songs like the slowed-down “It’s Over Now,” the acoustic-infused “I’m Alone,” and the gentle head-bobber “Love That’s Gone,” it’s no secret what the album’s themes are: endings, new beginnings, and venturing out alone. The irony, though, is that none of the songs are actually sad — at least not in a musical sense. When Goodman turns off the distortion and picks up the acoustic, things get more intimate, but there’s not a melancholic melody on the entire album. The lyrics might often look back, but the music is constantly looking forward. “I’m better off alone now,” Goodman sings on “Love That’s Gone.” And if future records are anything like this one, she certainly is.