Music For Listening To Music To
Reviewed by: Matt Kelchner
Music For Listening To Music To marks a big step for La Sera in a number of different ways. For the past three albums, it acted as the outlet for ex-Vivian Girls member Katy Goodman. This time around she has partnered up with guitarist/songwriter (and now hubby!) Todd Wisenbaker. The two went into the studio with prolific singer-songwriter Ryan Adams as producer. And if all that wasn’t enough, the record is also the debut for La Sera and their new home Polyvinyl Records.
“High Notes”, a rambling two minute shot laced with harmonica, kicks things off and sets the tone for the remainder of the others. Jangily, stripped down guitars chug along from track to track as Goodman and Wisenbaker trade off vocal duties. A sense of simplicity stretches across the album, a notion that works quite well to La Sera’s advantage. On songs like “Take My Heart” when Goodman sings “Do you believe me”, it feels like she’s standing in front of you, waiting for an honest answer in return.
Countering the upbeat songs like “I Need An Angel” and the aforementioned “High Notes” are slower, sway-inducing tracks that sound decades old. On “A Thousand Ways”, Goodman’s voice shines as she explores all the different things love can do. On an album that is full of new, a bit of a the past twists it’s way in. Brooding lyrics taken from “Too Little Too Late” illustrate Goodman’s how trademark “swoon and gloom” are worked into Music For Listening To Music To. “When it’s too little too late / that’s when it’s starts to make the most sense/ sense to me. / When I look back on my life / that’s when I start to cry. / My failures come to be / it kills me.”
Music For Listening To Music To does not completely redefine La Sera, but it does sound like the start of a new beginning for the new two piece act. The record gives off a fresh, spacious feel that let’s each song stand alone and breathe. Four albums in and Katy Goodman continues to prove that she is not afraid to try something new.