Love is a murder mystery for La Sera's Katy Goodman. Piecing together the death of a relationship and scanning for the "killer," the Vivian Girls member funnels her heartbreak through distressed bass lines, kick drums and burnt-out chant-singing on her side project's full-length debut. The guitar-stitched opener "Beating Heart" pleads to "aim for the heart," and when they're at full-blast, La Sera's warped harmonies verge on metallic. But Goodman's cooing thankfully lacks the dissonance of her alma mater. La Sera's narrative isn't a bold statement: It's an exploration of a faded romance, dressed up in high-pitched drones and erratic tambourine chimes, Goodman all the while possessed by a desperate drive to reconcile independence with co-dependence — both in her romantic and musical lives.
"Never Come Around" — which arrived accompanied by a blood-splattered video — is Goodman's most successful effort to untangle the mysteries of love: "I drive around for hours searching for a clue," she croons between tantrums of percussion. She sorts frantically through her ex-lover's actions, struggling to make sense out of her loss. But Goodman's searching for her own voice here too, which is often strangled by the instruments or amped up beyond comprehension. La Sera's dark surf are all of a piece, but their sentiments cut deep and leave lasting scars.