Despite the darling twee implications of her name, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper (nee Aly Spaltro) is anything but shy and cutesy. Yeah, she might name tracks for eggplants and the romanticized but macabre art of taxidermy, and yeah, she plays the banjo and ukulele. But please toss those images aside and replace them with a bright artist displaying skill and youthful eagerness—no shtick.
A regular in the Portland, ME, scene for five years now, the young artist (Spaltro is just 23 years old), has just produced her debut. Spaltro wrote every note and moved from home-recording to a studio for Ripley Pine. However, the smooth production didn’t lose the feeling that has made Lady Lamb such a beloved performer: Ripley Pine captures the vulnerable feeling of her live show—hyper-exposed with no band to hide behind—but here there’s no reason for her to shy away from the spotlight. Full flourishes in the style of old-timey big bands (“Aubergine”) are rounded out by Spaltro’s eager hollers and an overall sense of urgency.
Like Marnie Stern and Mary Timony before her, Spaltro is of the guitars-to-the-front camp of fiercely unabashed rock and this is where she truly shines. “Rooftop” is a rock track that, like many other songs on Ripley Pine, maintains a folk vibe, but album centerpiece and all-out rock track “Bird Balloons” has all the righteous anger of Exile In Guyville—a place where rock is still wrongly considered the domain of men—while brazenly defying such tropes. “I’m singing songs and I ain’t stopping/My hair grew long so I fucking cut it,” Spaltro calls in a at the crescendo of the no-holds-barred track. It’s these moments that make Lady Lamb an intimately standout new talent.