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Album Review
La Sera

La Sera
by La Sera

Hardly Art

Review Date
31st March 2010
Reviewed by
Paul Gallagher

It just seems as if the Vivian Girls-and-related train just won't quit rolling. La Sera is but one of a long line of side projects and appearances by the Vivian Girls, uh, girls. This album is a chance for usual-bass player Katy Goodman to stretch her abilities in another direction, joining forces with Sub Pop minor imprint Hardly Art to produce what can only be described as a charmingly weightless, stripped back piece of splendour.

Gone is the fuzz and feedback of the main Vivian Girls' character, replaced instead by a melodic gauze of sung love and love-lorn lessons. There is of course a certain level of sugar within the lyrics and lovely notes of 1960s girl group dream / vocal pop, but here too is an album touched by a distinct lack of naivety. It's a laid back, stripped down collection of songs that you would expect to see gracing a collection of 7-inch records in decades past - here there's no track longer than three minutes, each seamlessly easing into the next without so much as a stir. That collective brevity becomes an obstacle in terms of the incentive to actually discern separate songs, or to even remember them.

On that note, there is room however to comment on a few of the tracks - Devils Hearts Grow Gold is by far the best, delivering an enjoyable level of twang and deft harmony, and carrying with it certain amount of acrimony with adequate injection of emotion to be convincing enough to stand out. The single, Never Come Around, is also notable through the haze as the most interesting track on an album in dire need of more interesting tracks.

I get the feeling that although Ms Goodman believes in love, she's far too smart to be bothered by it. It's something that poses a problem when it's your main topic to cover in an album of Spector-ish efforts. There's a level of detachment evident in the songs that makes me think when she sits on the bus daydreaming and staring wistfully out across the cityscape it's not actually lovers towards whom she's wresting her thoughts, but instead the trees and pigeons and pedestrian walkways that she's rushing by. It's all just a bit blank.

That's the rub - although this album is entirely sweet (even when the darker undertones are considered), and it's by no means of megalithic length, it is terribly boring by the time you reach the second half. It would be quite easy to turn off and never hear again, and for every reason I can think of I don't think I'll miss it. But there may well be a major redeeming feature of it - as with the Ronettes, La Sera may just end up being something that is surprisingly evocative when you hear it unexpectedly while the iPod shuffles along with you as you make the Sunday morning cup of tea.


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