Taking time off from her regular gig with Vivian Girls to put together a solo project worked out well for Katy Goodman. Not that La Sera is a solo project; in fact Goodman, wrote the songs and gave them to her friend Brady Hall (who had made videos for Vivian Girls). He recorded all the music, bringing her in at the end to sing the vocals. No matter how it was done, the end result is pretty great. Freed from the rudimentary noise pop of her day job, Goodman's songs are slower, softer, and based on the simple pop of the late '50s/early '60s. Hall's arrangements are uncluttered and direct, layering guitars both acoustic and electric over gently played percussion into a reverby bed of sound for Goodman's vocals to soar above. She sings in a sweet and tender croon, harmonizing with herself throughout like a one-girl girl group. It's a truly lovely sound and it's backed by songs that equal the sound's high level of quality. Swooning ballads ("Under the Trees," "Beating Heart") mix with heartbroken laments ("You're Going to Cry"), jangling uptempo tracks ("I'm Talking to Myself"), and bouncy sunshine pop ("Left This World") to create an enchanting listening experience from start to finish. Best of all is the single "Never Come Around," which sounds instantly familiar the first time you spin it, like a classic radio hit on the best oldies station ever. Subsequent listens will drive its spiraling melody deep into your brain, lodging there next to your favorite Lesley Gore and Sandy Shaw tunes. A few spins of the album will have much the same effect, and after a while you'll find yourself wishing that Goodman would ditch Vivian Girls and do La Sera full-time -- especially if she and Hall can keep making records this wonderful.