A step in the right direction. The West Coast has been a hotbed for slacker punk drones as of late –and whether that’s your groove or not, it’s hard to avoid how difficult it is to discern one band from the rest. But emerging out of LA, with an indie pop inspired jangle, is La Sera and their new EP –Queens. It’s not a homerun but it is a damn solid step in the right direction.
Queens is diverse with a multitude of stylistic choices, guitar lines, and vocal takes. It’s not quite enough to be dubbed ‘thematic’ but the EP is just short of being a soundtrack for your latest independent film. La Sera tucked in a few interesting little tunes, some with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe –at one point even a Zeppelin cover. Speaking of which, I’m not sure if the Zeppelin cover is really worthy of being included in the mix but it was a nice way to finish out and demonstrated just how powerful the vocalist can be. Overall a nice, quick listen.
The EP kicks off with the title track. “Queens,” leaves an initial taste of indie pop goodness. It’s super poppy and flows with some excellent girl-boy vocals. The guitar is chipper and dances well amongst the barrage of percussion. Later, another track demonstrates the strong use of guitar and vocals in tandem well. “I Really Need an Angel” is a bit surfy. The guitar becomes possessed by Dick Dale and the vocals are clean, straight forward, and pair perfectly amongst their stringed companion. It’s refreshing to see so many distinct voices meld together so well.
Truthfully, the music isn’t always distinct. La Sera could use less Melberg, less Arcade Fire, less all-to-familiar three note guitar solos, and a lot more fresh melodies. Inspiration doesn’t mean new exciting, it just means the band has great taste and careful thought. La Sera manages to avoid all the typical pitfalls but is still only on the cusp of breaking into ‘amazing’. Take for example, “Shadow of Your Love.” The song starts with clear sweeping guitar and some articulate, soulful singing with a dash of vibrato. It carries on well enough with a building percussive line and it seems like a great tune. The guitar player presses down on the pedal labelled, ‘I wish I were Lightning Bolt’, and suddenly it’s a distorted guitar solo. I’m going to be blunt, I loved everything the band was reaching for, but it’s such a lackluster solo –it ruined my eargasm.
The five track EP is seamless however. Each song works together extremely well and they all string together well. I’m actually sad to say how quickly the (almost) twenty minutes passed. From start to finish, La Sera keeps you hooked. You listen and then say to yourself, “Well that’s pretty neat,” and you say it again, and again until it’s over –and then you want more. And I do mean more. More –regardless of how good Queens is, it just lacks replay value. Once is fantastic, twice is enough; and it’s never an issue of whether or not the music is worth a listen –La Sera just deserves a little more recording time.
Queens is worth your eighteen minutes but maybe not worth your hard earned dollars. A listen or two will do –share it with a friend, talk about it at the watering hole. On the other hand, La Sera is worth your hard earned dollars. While the EP didn’t convince me, the band did. Tucked beneath those five tracks is some serious talent waiting to emerge.