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The initial press release for La Sera's Hour of the Dawn came with a confession; the sad bedroom-born indie pop of Katy Goodman's first two solo albums was a lot less fun to create than it was to listen to. For some that might be a surprising revelation, in interviews she can seem like a happy-go-lucky figure and will probably admit with a smile that for her there was little catharsis to be found in her heartbroken melodies. The desperate creative change she needed to make album three a reality was something that had been absent from her life in recent years; camaraderie and the fun that comes with it.

That had been missing since sometime around 2011 when her former band Vivian Girls put out their third-and-final studio album Share the Joy. After its release the Brooklyn-three-piece entered a long period of stagnation and inactivity before finally calling it quits this March. Somewhere in that break Goodman realised she missed that sense of collaboration, and while it didn't save Vivian Girls (outside of a handful of farewell shows), it spelled the end of records of self-reflection and gave her an idea, and at some point La Sera stopped being a moniker and became a band.

Guitarist Todd Wisenberg was Hour of the Dawn's first recruit, and it was his shreddingly fast and loose style that inspired the album's raucous direction as well as this oft-repeated quote from its press release "I wanted the new La Sera record to sound like Lesley Gore fronting Black Flag." Now that's a bold claim and the quick answer to the question that's probably in all of your heads is no; it doesn't really sound like Lesley Gore fronting Black Flag. But you can easily see what Goodman means, she just wants to make a great rock record, and with Dum Dum Girls, Frankie Rose, and other artists from the sort of imagined girl-group-revival scene moving into dreamy and spatial directions, it's nice to see someone make something with such grounded aspirations.

While they're in no way ethereal, her new songs are expansive in their own way and step from the shade of her bedroom to shake their hair under stage light theatrics. The Lesley Gore comparison comes from the fact that the album cribs from the same vintage melodies indie musicians have been lovingly borrowing for years ('10 Headed Goat Wizard' sounds a little like The Cure and a lot like Sugar's 'If I Can't Change Your Mind'), but unlike them, Goodman has the voice to do them justice, she sounds as sweet as ever on Hour of the Dawn, and leaves all of the album's necessary gnarl and grit to her fierce new backing band. Even in the moments when she's singing at full volume, like 'Running Wild' and 'Losing to the Dark', the album's two absolute tears of first singles, her voice is soft and soothing, emanating as vibrant burst of black and white melody.

Of all the changes Goodman has been through in the last three years, the biggest is the hop she made from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Even the sad-eyed tunes of Sees the Light couldn't shake all of her new home's sunshine away, and this new record absolutely bakes in it. The songs seem written for the good times, made to be played loud and enjoyed beyond of the confines of headphones. Not a single note breaks the mood and every guitar solo is wear it should, ascending joyously as a celebration too sincere to be mocking.

By seamlessly transitioning between being La Sera's conquering frontwoman and a supporting member in its shadows, Goodman has sacrificed some of the intimacy that characterised her first two records. But without that compromise you wouldn't get moments as sublime as the ones that occur throughout its lean half-an-hour run time, like the moment she rallies and hands power over to Wisenberg's guitar to bring the album's title track home. Yet even when she steps completely out of the spotlight the album is hers. It's an act of personal expression in spite of its collaborative elements, a triumph of traditionalist song-writing structure that lets loose and experiments without disappearing entirely. Like the rest of her discography, Hour of the Dawn a short and sweet collection of music for and from the heart, only this time around it's played right from the guts.

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