Katy Goodman of the Vivian Girls returns with her sophomore solo attempt with some lovely results. While the Vivian Girls are known for jangly garage-rock with a heavy emphasis on harmonizing, Goodman’s intent as La Sera seems to be more pensive and personal.
Goodman’s voice floats between sounding like Jenny Lewis and Zooey Deschanel but is devoid of any flirty quirks, giving her a more concretely stable delivery. “Sees The Light” subtly provides a variety of songs without diverging from Goodman’s fragile coos. “I Can’t Keep You In My Mind” is a beach-rock anthem that recalls Tegan and Sara thanks to her impactful use of vocal layers.
“Please Be My Third Eye” also works to this effect but the Tegan and Sara queues are replaced with a heavy dose of fuzz-rock. Also, “I’m Alone” cascades with her layered harmonies and the result is decorative and satisfying. While the rest of “Sees The Light” is similarly pleasant, there are a few reasons why some listeners may be quick to lose track of La Sera.
While Goodman is obviously an adept songwriter who can skillfully shape melodious choruses, she seems to hold back on her vocal performance. Her voice is always present in each track but she never fully takes over, which may be her artistic direction. During the thirty minutes of the album, she quietly accompanies some lively instrumentations and a slight range between folk-influenced indie and beach-rock influenced tracks.
“Real Boy” seems to be the most vocal-oriented track on “Sees The Light” and it’s a nice treat to hear her upbeat fawning up-close and personal. “Break My Heart” is also heavily constructed around her vocals, which is the main reason that the song is so catchy. Goodman’s voice could probably tackle any genre of music and, because of it’s virility, I felt disappointed by how she sometimes hides behind her music. “How Far We’ve Come Now” and “It’s Over Now” could have more replay value if Goodman was more integrated to the songs.
However, this album is perfectly suited for lazy spring afternoons and kicking back with friends. It’s non-abrasive nature, cozily accessible tunes, and non-offensive vocals make it a pretty album all-around. Given the brevity of “Sees The Light”, Goodman successfully created a staple for road trips and beach outings across the world while exploring her own brand of light garage-rock.