AFTER by Lady Lamb
Genre: Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Dear Arkansas Daughter,” “Spat Out Spit,” “Milk Duds,” “Billions of Eyes”
2015 has enjoyed a surplus of original female-fronted music. From punk acts like Screaming Females and Pussy Riot, to fun-and-freaky indie rock like Hop Along, to the rambling folk-pop of Courtney Barnett, the recent pop culture desire for more female artists has created some truly refreshing music with a healthy audience behind it. However, as more girls move to the front of the room, these voices will likely squish together, originality becoming blurred. Luckily, there are still a few new good eggs to be found, one of them being Lady Lamb the Beekeeper and her newest record, AFTER. A delightfully unpredictable album, Lady Lamb manages to interweave sincere folk, occasionally theatrical indie rock and sudden song structure turns to keep the listener on their toes.
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper is the stage name of Aly Spaltro, who started making music in 2007 while working the graveyard shift at a video store. (If that doesn’t put a feather in your precious, twee cap, nothing will.) She’s been releasing music ever since, but only her last two records have been through a label. Nearly a decade of experimenting and writing music has gifted her with a nifty ability to write songs with catchy hooks that will take sharp detours into new rhythms and genres within any given track, each held together by her rich voice and honest lyrics.
The first three tracks on AFTER are so musically diverse that it’d be difficult not to find at least one pleasurable. Part of Lady Lamb’s gift is blending genres in such a way that, even if one’s not interested in a specific sound, the overall pastiche becomes interesting. Before her jamming becomes dull on tracks like “Batter,” Lamb switches to a simple, stable bass guitar to draw you back in. In less capable hands, Lady Lamb’s mellow indie rock could be sleep-inducing, but by the time album opener “Vena Cava” comes to a close, the listener should know there’s a lot more going on than your average thrift-store-and-fair-trade-coffee indie record.
Lyrically, this is not always the most inventive record. Lady Lamb can’t quite stack up with the storytelling prowess of songwriters like Courtney Barnett, but Spaltro’s voice is dynamic and expressive enough to make up for it. There’s also a sense that her wistful descriptions of relationships (that didn’t quite pan out) is entirely truthful. They may not be sweeping, epic love songs, but for the most part they feel like a genuine reflection of the lackluster love many people are unfortunately familiar with. For example, the chorus on “Milk Duds” simply goes, “We fell asleep on a box of milk duds, they melted into the clubhouse cushions, I’ve never loved another person more than I loved you when I woke that morning.” The power in her lyrics, when she gets them right, is in describing the very real and small details of a relationship.
AFTER seems to have slipped through the cracks, most likely due to the saturation of female singer-songwriters this year. If you’re looking for a new voice, however, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper is more than worth your time and is certainly an artist to know before she’s mainstream.