To many, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper (aka Aly Spaltro) is an enigma. Her songs are at once intimate and unbridled- both deeply personal and existentially contemplative. Spaltro is a fearless performer who can command a pitch-black stage with nothing more than her voice. Yet, when the band bursts in and the lights come up, what began as a demonstration of restraint shifts seamlessly into an emphatic snarl.
It was in Spaltro's home state of Maine that she first found her voice among thousands of films in the independent rental store where she worked the closing shift. After hours, Spaltro would create songs completely uninhibited by musical conventions, learning to play and sing as she hit record. A handful of these songs were carefully curated and fully arranged for her debut studio album, Ripely Pine (Ba Da Bing! Records).
On her newest work, After, Spaltro explores dualities further - giving equal attention to both the internal and external, the before and after. Her most palpable fears and memories are on display here, with a familiar vulnerability even more direct than her last effort. These new works - which found Spaltro co-producing with her Ripely Pine partner Nadim Issa - are sonically vibrant, with an assertive use of grit and brightness. Thematically, they provide direct insight into Spaltro's rumination on mortality, family, friendships, and leaving home. Where Ripely Pine sometimes lacked in personal narrative and directness is where After shines. The last line on After encompasses the self-assurance of the work as a whole, stating "I know where I come from." This theme is constant throughout the album.