Dreamy vintage pop rock
It’s easy to judge an album from its first single (let alone first track) and assume what the song sounds like is exactly what an album has to offer. Clearly this a rather flawed way approach an album or group. Such is the case with La Sera’s most recent release, Music For Listening To Music To.
The first single, “High Notes,” does an excellent job of illustrating the campiness of the record both in sound and in title. It’s clear the album is meant to be fun and light-hearted.
Prior records by La Sera showcased a more punk vibe than this latest release, which illustrates a change in maturity and approach. For about a week during the production process of the album, Ryan Adams gave his input into the instrumentation and the way Katy Goodman uses her vocals to inflict more of a mood than previous releases. Goodman sounds eerily close to a softer version of Zooey Deschanel from She and Him.
Though it’s a silly title name, the album has a few tracks that demonstrate skill and progress for a group that is known more for staying the course. However, some musical themes were worth pursuing on the album, such as the jangly guitars, occasionally covered in a chorus flanger and the drum production. The effects allow for somewhat banal rhythms to color themselves and stick out under vocals.
Vocal production on the album tends to stagnate throughout the whole album. From “A Thousand Ways” and forward, tracks slip into a retro sounding 1950s high school rock band with safe vocal lines and wanting production features. The only real lively moments are when some songs turn into duets, which gives texture to seemingly mundane songs. The album certainly could have used a few more moments of flash.
Again, even though judging a record by its name or first song is a most assuredly flawed approach, it is not always the wrong opinion. This is the case for La Sera’s Music For Listening To Music To. From its first track and single forward the album does not change much and it’s obvious the band challenged itself in a limited capacity. The guitars sound the same each track, the drum beats repeat, the vocals are unwavering in the face of change, and each song leaves you with the same feelings. However, it should be praised when a band begins to take a mature step and that’s what this album is for La Sera. Perhaps the next record will be the one for which listeners are waiting.