La Sera (Hardly Art)
Katy Goodman seems determined to craft her own identity outside of Brooklyn post-punk trio the Vivian Girls, in which she plays bass. Goodman's breathy and seraphic vocals are poised to escape the heavy distortion and layering that, up until recently, have been associated with her punk roots.
Her first solo venture, All Saints Day, paired Goodman with Cat Power's Greg Foreman and found the two layering reverb-heavy guitar rock with heavily distorted vocals—not much of a departure from her work with the Vivian Girls. But La Sera, Goodman's latest project, takes a chance by dialing down the distortion and showcasing her self-proclaimed love of stripped-down and dreamy pop songs.
The tone of La Sera is set from the opening track on the self-titled debut, which stands out as its best. The appropriately titled "Beating Heart" starts with steadily paced and minimalist guitar riffs that complement Goodman's chiming vocals without detracting from her meandering (and at times oddly placed) double-tracked harmonies. Each song connects so seamlessly to the next that it becomes difficult to determine where one ends and the other begins.
Avid fans of the Vivian Girls might find Goodman's vocals almost unrecognizable, but it's clear that with La Sera she is reaching for listeners more inclined toward the blissfully romantic than the gritty and aggressive.