Published May 09, 2014The press release for La Sera's third record frames the album as a break from the past. After two releases focused on Katy Goodman's personal travails, Hour of the Dawn is her coming out party. Done with wallowing in the past, she's moving on with a full band in tow. Still, it's hard not to read the break-up of Vivian Girls, the band she co-founded with Cassie Ramone in 2007, into the proceedings, even if this record was recorded six months prior to their split. Regardless, Hour of the Dawn is a more full-bodied affair than previous efforts, and sounds like a conscious effort to move what was once viewed as a side-project into the limelight.
It works in places. The title track is a particular standout, as is "Kissing this Town Away." But the bigger, brighter production and rock band arrangements overshadow what made La Sera so great in the first place: Goodman's confessional lyrics and the subtlety of her lilting harmonies. The latter feel particularly out of place as any attempt to fuse her delicate voice with booming drums and chiming guitars buries it along with the heart and soul of the record. Goodman remains a sharp and confident songwriter, and buried underneath the noise there's still plenty of charm here, but dialing back all the bluster would have gone a long way. (Hardly Art)