La Sera – Hour of the Dawn
By Aino Vaino
There are times when I like going into an album blind, strictly looking for a good time. Hour of the Dawn from La Sera does not disappoint this aspiration.
Katy Goodman (former Vivian Girls ) writes the songs and sings, backed by a band that wraps her voice in a whirlwind of energy and dance-able excitement.
The music is fast, fun and distinct. There’s a lot of emphasis on relationships, memories, and romance in the lyrics. But instead of dwelling on moody break-up moments and anguish, Goodman moves forward into a terrain of freedom and celebration. When the album, briefly, moves into darker, more brooding tones it seems off, but Goodman’s high energy performance forgives all.
Hour of the Dawn is sufficiently rooted in skipping, snare drum marching punk music to appeal to a wide cross-range of scenesters and the musically intellectual. There’s lots of comparisons to be heard here. The Beatles, Flag Flag, The Pretenders. These names come up when you talk about Goodman. If she’d recorded an acoustic album (I’d love to hear these songs acoustic), people would say she could be a female Bob Dylan. Listen to her and you want her to go big and have the comparisons switch to Lana Del Rey. Yet Hour of the Dawn maintains the feel of quite possibly having been recorded in a basement.
What makes Goodman and La Sera stand out is her high, smooth voice that dominates all the songs. Goodman is La Sera and the accompanying music is really just that, an accompaniment. The music is pleasant, energetic, and proficient, but not particularly notable. The ability of Goodman’s magnetic flowing vocals to carry the group reaffirms that La Sera is about her.
Hour of the Dawn has been noted as different, brighter, more optimistic and punkier than other La Sera albums. Goodman’s willingness to change up the sound to suit herself is both courageous and shows that she will keep La Sera composing exactly as she wants it to. – (8/10)
High-points: “Kiss This Town Away,” “Losing to the Dark”
Low-points: “Control,” “Storm’s End”
(La Sera opens for King Tuff Wednesday, October 22 at Neumos.)