There are very few songwriters out there with the talent to pen lyrics that are both caustically funny and genuinely moving, but Katy Goodman, ex-Vivian Girls band member and driving force behind La Sera, is one of them, as she proves on the blistering Losing to the Dark. The song kicks off with the most La Sera-y line yet written (yes, La Sera-y: I'm hoping if I use that adjective often enough it'll slip into regular lexicon.) "Why don't you have another drink, so you can pass out in the backseat of my car?" sings Goodman, and if you can think of an opener more immediately engaging than that one, then I'll buy you a drink. Can't offer you a place to fall unconscious in my car though, cause I decided long ago that the world was a safer place with my movement restricted to the pavement.
That said, the song's chorus - "I can't live like this forever, losing to the dark" - is what grounds the whole experience. It's a line that binds the humour in the track with something raw and poignant. There's a genuine pain you have to face when you're trying to save someone from themselves, and the way Goodman's voice stretches out the word 'dark' till it becomes a low, controlled howl captures every drop of it.
Even at three minutes and fourteen seconds, Losing to the Dark is an embarrassment of riches. The shredding guitar work is excellent; the song doesn't drag for a second; and the gorgeous multilayered vocals give the thing a vibe that is both nostalgic and immediately relevant.
In short, Losing to the Dark is a song that captures everything that is great about Goodman, and it does it without ever overstating itself, or wearing out its welcome. Treasure it. It's a keeper.