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On the newest La Sera album, the former Vivian Girl who's not a Baby, Katy Goodman, heads into a harder-edged full-band territory than her previous bedroom efforts. She talks in the press release about being influenced by The Pretenders and The Smiths here, but also a love of early hardcore like Minor Threat and Black Flag.
I have to admit I'm hearing the former two influences far more prevalently than the latter, but there is a bite to this record that we've not previously heard from Goodman. Her voice is still smooth and melodic as ever, and these are still pop songs at heart, but with a lovely balance of thick guitar crunch and shamelessly catchy melodies that ensures they never sound cheesy or overbaked.
She saves the best couple of tracks for the end though. '10 Headed Goat Wizard' particularly impresses in terms of this punchy but relentlessly catchy new sound - beautiful and bold and intuitive, it feels like a classic single from the late '80s that you've half-forgotten. Finally 'Storm's End' has some big ringing Link Wray guitar chords and a kind of babbling reverbed monologue of a vocal that sounds mega cool like the final section of 'Pretty in Pink' by the Psychedelic Furs.
If I have a complaint it's that the first two thirds of the album are a little lacking in variety and maybe a touch inconsistent, but when Goodman hits the target she's capable of some top drawer indie pop.
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