Whoa, Katy Goodman, slow down! Three releases in a year! And all good to boot! Queens is a rapid-fire EP delivered just in time for a new La Sera tour, and in its curt 18 minutes, it motors through emotions, swathing our hearts with warm guitars and some shredding solos.
Yes, shredding solos. In a La Sera album. The punkier attitude is still there and the solos come with the emotional intensity of Neil Young, not the drone-precision accuracy of Steve Vai. 2 new songs, 2 re-imaginations and a cover. Let’s do the old track by track:
‘Queens’ is the catchy lead single and it gives the EP its name. A well deserved recognition, as the song finds Goodman and Wisenbaker in bright post-punk fields. The seeds of A flock of Seagulls’ ‘Space Age Love Song’ and Juice Newton‘s ‘Queen of Hearts’ were sown a long time ago and now, in this age of harvesting, ‘Queens’ comes as the award winning crop.
Nearby, ‘Magic in your eyes’ tackles ‘Neighborhood Threat’-style moods with the endemic charm that La Sera imbues into their music. Golden rays reflect on fields of heather and rye, quietly dancing with the fidgety wind.
A few eyebrows raised once it was revealed that two tracks were re-recordings of songs from Music for listening to music to. Alarms rang when I saw that one of them was my fave song, ‘Shadow of your Love’. Colour me surprised when ‘Shadow of your love (slight return)’ jumped from the third rope and dropkicked me into a knockout. This version is miles superior to the original, adding a freakout solo that exponentially amplifies the gorgeous track.
‘I really need angel’, like a repeated plea, increases the dramatic stakes. Like a weaved boondoggle, Wisenbaker and Goodman‘s vocals intertwine. Nevermind my previous comparison to Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, this is a Bonnie & Clyde situation, with another ripping solo replacing the final shootout. This solo goes for the bombastic 70s stadium rock style and although it could sound like a case of chalk and cheese, believe you me, this works fantastically. Especially as it segues into their magnificent take of Led Zeppelin‘s ‘Whole Lotta Love’. I’d venture to say I prefer this to the Led Zeppelin version and my justification is simple: the original loses its amazing pacing with the tripped out interval. Here, it’s shortened and we return to orbit instead of blasting off to the Pleiades, never to be seen again.
Queens works like a round of shots before a long night out. A jolting kickstart to get La Sera back on the road. I assume this EP wants to remind the public of the intensity of La Sera‘s live show. I’ve never seen one, but if it’s as good as this, I would be a very happy customer.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López