on 26 March 2012
Sub Pop offshoot Hardly Art is a fine little label and make no mistake. Proof, if required, comes via their immaculate roster, which has so far included a plethora of pleasing releases from Arthur & Yu, Le Loup, Golden Triangle, The Beets, Gem Club, K-Holes, Grave Babies, X-Ray Eyeballs, Woven Bones, Shimmering Stars, Seapony, The Sandwitches, Jacuzzi Boys, Hunx (& His Punx), Colleen Green, The Fresh & Onlys, Fergus & Geronimo and Circle Pit to name but a few.
Equally at home in their gallery is Brooklynite Katy "Kickball" Goodman, aka the pretty, double physics graduate Vivian Girls bassist and vocalist. Near perfect specimen of the female form therefore, when left to her own devices her solo work is largely as expected, channelling the more pastoral and dreamier sepia tones of the classic Girl group era. This all served Goodman's self-titled debut LP well, culminating in mesmeric if frosty cuts like "Beating Heart".
Sees The Light (in all its homophonic glory) initially seems not to stray far from a winning formula, opening with the sleepy, summery garage jam "Love That's Gone". Quick to blow such presumptuousness out of the water, the catchy single "Please Be My Third Eye" then flexes its muscles with some heavyweight guitar fuzz, tempering the sound with a bed of skittish keys. Also harnessing the frayed power of relative lo-fi is "How Far We've Come Now", which brings to mind jangling memories of both 60s psyche and stoner pop.
Charting a more familiar trajectory, the rather excellent "I Can't Keep You On My Mind" is built on a bread-and-butter garage structure out of which rises a triumphant guitar solo and some supercharged Girl group pop. Next, and in the same comfortable vein, "Break My Heart" offers up a feast of effortless C86ish indie pop.
The breakup bummer "It's Over Now" is suitably downbeat, but perhaps a little too down in the dumps to warrant its inclusion here. Altogether breezier, and fresh to the La Sera sound however is the delicate twee of "I'm Alone" - a more effective echo of which can be heard courtesy of the Tennis-esque "Real Boy", that is if the happy couple were ever to leave their yacht and occasionally venture to the beach.
Goodman has done more than "sees" the light with her sophomore collection, she's anticipated the oncoming summer, capturing the spirit of the season nonchalantly: all its loves, losses and life in general.
Advised downloads: "I Can't Keep You On My Mind" and "How Far We've Come Now".