Six years on and Katy Goodman‘s trip through sixties’ pop, jangly seventies’ dream pop and visceral punk takes a turn into the gravel and dirt roads of alt-country. This is Music for listening to music to and, unsurprisingly, it’s a enjoyable romp. Guided by she of the fiery hair and fierce strumming, La Sera‘s change from dream pop into alt-country has been gradually peeking in her previous albums. Now, it’s on full effect, ploughing through the endless fields of gold.
Now a married couple, Katy Goodman and Todd Wisenbaker take turns for vocal delivery. This works great in a track like ‘One True Love’, a dreamy tribute to Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty‘s call and response delivery. ‘I need an angel’ repeats the technique, but with a faster pace. They are playing with the queen of hearts and they know the joker ain’t the only fool. Gotta love the R.E.M. tone of the guitars in ‘I need an angel’. It’s a great style, sorely missed by all of us and this flashy display shows La Sera‘s clear stance in guitar playing.
‘Begins to rain’ is a wonderful track. Think of the structure of a post punk track, stripped down to the basics. Little effects on the guitar, an impetuous bass line and a trusty drum beat. It’s as simple as they come, but the results are very positive. The song lingers in the memory long after is gone; that last strum echoing in the darkest recesses of your soul.
There is a decisively country flavour speeding through and through in the brisk half hour the album lasts. This by no means implies that La Sera‘s weird and wonderful spirit has faded into static. Just observe the video for ‘High Notes’, which mixes Hee Haw with Fright Night seamlessly.
Ryan Adams‘ producing duties captures this new twist in the career of Katy Goodman. He’s the right Peter Parker to document Goodman and Wisenbaker‘s foray into punk country (see ‘Time to go’ for the mosh pit ditty). The jangly guitars are still there, but there’s less reverb. The dream is gone, it’s all reality now and the occasional flashes of dream pop are sparse, this effort has both feet grasping the soil underneath, with arms outstretched to the skies. ‘Take my heart’ is my primary exhibit for this production style.
Make no mistake: this is a punk record. Songs feel curt. ‘Time to go’ might feel like a jaunty ditty to drive to through the backroads of County Benton, but it wouldn’t be out of place in the ruins of CBGB or the parking lot of Los Angeles’ Knitting Factory. Katy Goodman keeps re-inventing her own style as La Sera and Music for listening to music to manages to pay tribute to those bands from decades gone while style allowing Ms. Goodman develop her own true voice as an artist.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López