On her Mom + Pop debut, After, Aly Spaltro explores who the person behind the Lady Lamb moniker is, and as she displays herein, it’s a multi-faceted view. She is at once a spitfire and a reflective soul.
After is a juxtaposition of riotous, weighty thoughts and bubblegum whimsy. Opening track “Vena Cava,” is equal parts explosive and delicate, showcasing perfectly the dynamic range of Spaltro’s voice. There is a youthful exuberance that erupts forth throughout the album, begging to be acknowledged by a world that is quick to pigeonhole its inhabitants into arbitrary boxes. Spaltro knocks down the walls, finding her place equally in pop with infectious da-da-da-da’s (“Billions of Eyes) and ballads that display an unparalleled timelessness (“Ten” and “Sunday Shoes”). “Violet Clementine” grips the listener with a walking bass line that is an instant earworm, before erupting into a full out instrumental explosion.
The entire album is introspective and inquisitive, exploring huge ideas like on “Spat Out Spit” where Spaltro croons,
“I could be cracked open
like a cartoon watermelon
then you would see the solar system suspended in me
it’s the same one in you that
pulses and spins
we’re just made of flecks of the heaven
spat out spit.”
But it is “Batter” where her hook snags indefinitely. This is a track Joan Jett would be proud of. With lyrics like “don’t let your demons take you to the cleaners” or “a body’s sacred / when it’s naked / so go ahead and let it be a Bible for another,” Spaltro at once makes you reflect deeply and want to pound your fist. Here’s where you learn that a riot grrrl doesn’t just ricochet violently with an axe in her hand; sometimes she’s armed with an acoustic, a banjo or a quiet voice. And as the Bard once said, “though she be but little, she is fierce!” Aly Spaltro is all these things and on After, she takes her place amongst the women who won’t take no for an answer, the women who will make you listen to what they have to say. And you’ll like it.