La Sera – Queens EP Review

La Sera end their middling year on a wonderful high note.
Polyvinyl Records, 2016
Purchase: Polyvinyl Records

7.0 / 10

La Sera has been busy. Not only did La Sera become a duo whenever Todd Wisenbaker joined as a permanent member, but the band just dropped Music for Listening to Music to this spring. Beyond that, they’ve been touring like crazy. And beyond that, founding member Katy Goodman released Take It, It’s Yours with Greta Morgan. And not only that, but they’ve already got a new EP out called Queens.

Even though they’ve been busy, it hasn’t been a great year for La Sera. Music for Listening to Music to was the weakest album of the band’s career, and the Americana dream-pop of Take It, It’s Yours was limp and boring. And maybe this is the best way to approach La Sera’s new EP — across five short songs, the band has restored my faith in them completely. Ryan Adam’s production for Music for Listening… didn’t suit the band’s sensibilities, and the concept behind Take It, It’s Yours was uninteresting enough that it didn’t matter how well Goodman and Morgan executed it. Queens, on the other hand, bristles with energy. The life of La Sera’s Sees the Light or Hour of the Dawn is back. The songs are catchy and smart. The title track’s melody is sweet and simple, but the definitive track is “Shadow of Your Love (Slight Return)”. It’s a ethereal pop ballad in its first minutes before La Sera let the electric guitar launch into an incredible (and noisy) solo. It’s pop, but it’s pop with teeth.

La Sera even takes a stab at Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, easily doing it justice. Rather than paring it down and slowing it, like Goodman did to various punk standards in Take It, It’s Yours, she approaches the song on its own terms. It’s loud and noisy, but it easily falls within La Sera’s power-pop orbit. They’ve taken the original, realized what was great about it, and made it their own. While the band may have started the year with a disappointment, they’re ending it on a clear high note.

Key Tracks:
“Queens”
“Shadow of Your Love (Slight Return)”