La Sera – Sees the Light

The trick is evidently not to overegg the pudding or be too clever, “strength in simplicity”, that sort of thing.

 

 

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This is the second LP by Vivian Girls’ bassist Katy Goodman. Now, Vivian Girls aren’t really my thing on record, I sort of don’t mind them but to be honest sometimes they just pass me by, so I wasn’t thinking that this would be much cop either, but there you go I was clearly thinking a barrel load of piss. Because this is a lovely record, full of well-crafted tunes and delivered in a clear and carefree manner that is charm itself. You’ve certainly heard it all before, too: it’s cheerleader pop, and its antecedents are songs like My Boyfriends Back and Baby It’s You, so if that’s your thing, you should give this a spin.

In terms of material, Sees the Light is happy to keep things clear and uncomplicated throughout its lifespan, the album is just out to tell you a story or two. It’s also great that we get Goodman’s voice in such an uncomplicated way, sat on top of the mix, and not lost in a squall of white noise. Good pop wins when it can get its message over quickly, and even on the slower tracks things like It’s Over Now and the dreamy skip of the opener, Love That’s Gone, this approach works: Goodman’s plaintive stories hold your attention, mainly due to her unaffected delivery.

When the record rocks out it does it in a charming way; I Can’t Keep You in My Mind, Please be My Third Eye and Break My Heart are marvellously buzzy swirls, sounding like the winsome bitter-sweet stuff that Kelley Stoltz has perfected this last 10 years or so. The trick is evidently not to overegg the pudding or be too clever, “strength in simplicity”, that sort of thing. The rockin’ stroll of How Far We’ve Come sees a bit more fuzz and scuzz, but it’s handled beautifully and is possibly the LP’s highlight. Good pop stuff, nowt new, but there again, why should it be?