Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Music Review: Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

Ripley Pine
[Ba Da Bing]
Lady Lamb is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill apiarist. She is not always gentle like a lamb. She sometimes has bees in her bonnet which she unleashes in small swarms, always at a fitting time when she can deliver the best sting, sweet as honey. As if Aly Spaltro (as Lady Lamb is also known) wasn't a precious enough name for the young singer/songwriter, her adopted moniker certainly suggests something playful and innocent, but her youthful looks belie a soulful voice that sounds an age beyond her 23 years.

The background story is that Lady Lamb began writing and recording songs after hours at the DVD rental store where she worked in Brunswick, Maine. She sold these recordings at the record store next door under the Lady Lamb pseudonym. From that beginning, here we are. This is Aly's first full-length foray and it's pretty fabulous and packed with great songs that are emotionally powerful and driven and showcase an admirable level of lyrical virtuosity.

To be dragged by the hair to the carnival is a strange enough way to travel. Even so, “Hair to the Ferris Wheel” gives a rousing start to a record that never stops spinning. The song starts slow but amps up quickly with a driving drum beat and strummingly loud guitars. "Aubergine" is a leg-kicking tune with fired up horns that build up big only to fall down and start all over again. It's about absence making the heart grow, not fonder, but hollow like an "egg without a yolk". "Bird Balloons" gets Lady Lamb popping with Bjork-like bleats; “I’m a ghost and you all know it”. "Rooftop" delivers as a standout track of guitar with gumption and violin and vocals that soar and tumble down.

Ripley Pine is as strong a twelve song effort as I've heard. It fluctuates between half full and full on while pontificating in the abstract about universal subjects. It lays in the cut at the right times only to hit full force with the backing of a full-band. Shear sheepy brilliance. Baah, rah rah—Chris Auman

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