Sees the Light
In 2011, Katy Goodman took a break from her roll as bassist/vocalist and one-third of Brooklyn's Vivian Girls to assert her own singular identity as La Sera. Though still a Vivian Girl, Goodman's La Sera debut forged a slightly different path, eschewing the fuzzy haze of her main band for Mowtown-esque girl group pop, simple melodic ditties that exposed the angelic voice previously hidden by the rawk and roll of Vivian Girls.
Sees the Light retains the same dreamy qualities of last year's La Sera, while significantly upping the rock factor. Whereas the songs on her debut seemed to float in the ether, many of the tracks here are paired with a heavier electric guitar-oriented instrumental backing, creating a sound more akin to '90s college rock staples Magnapop or Velocity Girl than The Shirelles. Goodman coos "break my heart" over insistent drumming and electrified riff in the track of the same name. Guitars chime as vocals soar on "I'm Alone," a song whose bouncy, melody-filled air belies the statement of its title. If La Sera was the breakaway statement of purpose, Goodman making sure listeners knew her as more than just a Vivian Girl, Sees the Light is her opening up more and expanding her vision. "Real Boy" is so gentle and anachronistic that it could have easily sat aside the songs on La Sera, but "Drive On," the track that immediately follows, introduces itself with minor key electric guitar leading into assertive vocal. Sees the Light doesn't hit its mark on all fronts. The atmospheric rock that Goodman is selling can be difficult to keep interesting across an entire LP, and even with the album clocking in at only 30 minutes, songs such as the slow burning "It's Over Now" and "How Far We've Come" tend to plod. But overall, Sees the Light is as successful an album as La Sera was. Only now Goodman sounds free to explore any avenue she wishes. (www.freewebs.com/iamkatygoodman)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 9/10