Music

Lady Lamb Searches for Personal Meaning on 'Even in the Tremor'

Photo: Shervin Lainez / Pitch Perfect PR

Lady Lamb's ability to admit her flaws, revel in her foibles, and then accept her strengths renders Even in the Tremor as an expression of truth.

Even in the Tremor
Lady Lamb

Ba Da Bing

5 April 2019

Aly Spaltro, more commonly known as Lady Lamb, is searching for personal meaning. In her third album, Even in the Tremor, released from Ba Da Bing Records, Spaltro unpacks raw human emotions and experiences. At times, she is critical then complacent but constantly tending to and growing her standpoint. Throughout the album, she carefully centralizes love and kindness when her stream-of-consciousness lyrics verge too heavily on the macabre. Even in the Tremor processes a vast emotional spectrum without becoming tedious or narcissistic. Spaltro's ability to admit her flaws, revel in her foibles then accept her strengths renders Even in the Tremor as an expression of truth.

Even in the Tremor models real emotions. Spaltro doesn't attempt to camouflage the negative feelings from the positive. She revels as much in her indignation as in contentment. On "Little Flaws", for example, Spaltro throws a toddler-scale tantrum then professes, "I'm stubborn and fresh and hot-headed, too, and I missed six pitches in the batting cage / I threw my bat in a fit of rage / But it's all that I want to do." Spaltro never apologizes for her rage. Instead, she legitimatizes her anger and expects others to accept her as well. Fury often leads to confusion and this bewilderment can feel staggering. But on "Oh My Violence", she relinquishes to being "lost in the losing / I get lost, lost, lost, lost" as a step towards progression.

As tough as she is, Spaltro is also confident in exhibiting her vulnerabilities. In "Untitled Soul" she recalls, "I'm a little worried I am all that I have / And I want to be good and I long to be loved." She ends the track by repeating "Soothe, soothe, soothe my soul." Her demand for serenity methodically allows Spaltro to resolve the emotional chaos. Even in times of blind-rage, as depicted in "Little Flaws", Spaltro illustrates the ability to declutter mentally. As she indicates in the title-track, it is commonplace to move between emotional poles as "there's a parade in that dread / (Even in the tremor I feel a stillness growing)".

Spaltro has a cadre supporting her quest for self-awareness. Even in the Tremor frequently mentions her reliance on community, specifically family, lovers, and friends, as necessary emotional anchors. She understands they deserve kindness in return for their care. She emphasizes this point in "Prayer of Love" when she sings, "so I will try to be kind to myself and to you / And to my brother and my sisters and to strangers and my friends." The value of community is revisited in "Strange Maneuvers". She focuses on Kurt, who "called in the early morning / Just to remind me I'm already alright / And it worked, Kurty-bear." Musically, the track features rapid arpeggios built by raucous drums and bass. However, when she sings about Kurt, the instrumentals subside only to feature Spaltro's voice and a distant guitar. The simplified instrumentation reflects a community's ability to erode chaos and guide tranquility.

The reliance on the music to convey emotionality is reiterated in "Deep Love". Here, Spaltro removes her quintessential sharp and electric instrumentals for an acoustic sound. The instrumental choice bolsters the demonstration of various types of intimacy. She opens lyrically by looking at a picture of her mother "smiling for the local paper, looking like my sister, I feel overgrown / With that deep, deep love." The second verse shows Spaltro purposely yet gently brushing her girlfriend's hair. Finally, she observes her neighbors doting on their dogs. Spaltro is clear that intimacy is undefinable: it is a reflection of the individual and with whom they share love. She rejects judgment to declare "passin' by a pure scene in somebody else's life gives my life meanin'".

Despite the album's expression of personal inquiry, self-doubt, and introspection, Spaltro's approach to Even in the Tremor's production was assured. The artist spent a year finding a co-producer who supported her vision. Industry veterans insisted she rewrite arrangements, but to Spaltro their views reflected how "women who work in the production side of music are not taken seriously". Spaltro maintained her standpoint, eventually collaborating with Bowie's Blackstar producer Erin Tonkon. Together they rejected the androcentric industry and incessant musical mansplaining to produce Even in the Tremor as Spaltro envisioned. Their collaboration affirms Even in the Tremor's absolute honesty and emotional wanderlust.

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