Saturday, May 10, 2014

La Sera Releases Hour Of The Dawn: A Review Of The New Record

La Sera is back with her new record, Hour Of The Dawn, out this week on Hardly Art. Hard to believe that it's been 2 years since Sees The Light, isn't it? Well it's okay 'cause Hour Of The Dawn may be even more hook-filled than that other album.

Things kick off strong with "Losing To The Dark" and that leads into the absolutely wonderful "Summer Of Love" which sounds like Pam Berry of Black Tambourine and Glo-Worm fronting The Primitives. In other words, it's the stuff that the cool kids dream about. It's that mix of indie and robust tunefulness that makes the song-craft of La Sera stand head and shoulders above many of her peers.

Her quote -- that she wanted to make a record that sounded like "Lesley Gore fronting Black Flag" -- sounds like a wild idea but the charms of Hour Of The Dawn are neither Brill Building songwriting nor classic SST punk. No, Katy Goodman, the woman behind all this, has a gift for making concise, hook-y, pop songs that shoot by in a rush of melody and noise. Closer to The Primitives, Velocity Girl, and Juliana Hatfield, the tunes of La Sera are things of postpunk joy. "All Of My Love Is For You" and the title cut whirl and crackle on guitar licks and smooth vocals, equal parts the work of the third (?) generation of singers and bands to follow the lead of those C86 acts but also the work of a front-person and band-leader with an ear to an even earlier generation of singers and songwriters with hints of Joni and Ronstadt poking through the fuzz.

Guitarist Todd Wisenbaker and the rest of the new band she assembled for this record deserve some of the credit too. There are moments here -- like on "Kiss This Town Away" -- that echo the best moments of classic Bangles and Smithereens cuts.

It's not to say that La Sera is choosing from too many influences but rather that she and her bandmates have cherry-picked the very choicest of rock predecessors to draw their inspiration from.

Hour Of The Dawn is out Tuesday, May 13, on Hardly Art.

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And if you missed when I posted it before, download "Losing To The Dark" below.