Lady Lamb / Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

Tender Warriors Club

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In an unlikely unique but certainly rare instance of a performer/songwriter seeming to emerge fully formed from the basement of a video store in her early twenties, Aly Spaltro impressed right from the get-go with her label debut, 2013's Ripely Pine. In truth, she had self-released a series of bedroom recordings over the six years prior, honing her skills and developing the vocal muscle to deliver her passionate indie rock as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper. Still governed by folk sensibilities, the critically acclaimed After followed in 2015. That album's aptly titled follow-up, Tender Warriors Club, offers a sturdy yet intimate seven tracks, her first set under the abbreviated name Lady Lamb. Opener "Heaven Bent" spotlights a vocal line supported by minimal acoustic guitar that's a far cry from any placid singer/songwriter fare ("You are the blood in my song/See me spill over when it's sung"). The tune eventually picks up a second vocal track, delay, and swirling effects. At over seven minutes in length, "Tangles" is an epic campfire ballad, sparse and wrecked, that's similarly all about the vocal delivery. Acoustic guitar is later joined by ghostly accompaniment that lands somewhere between the sound of a pedal steel and distant wailing. It all falls away as she declares "I never want to see you again, but I long to see you soon" midway through, with more confessions to come. The album's catchiest, most exuberant entry comes with "See You." Still searching and struggling, the song anticipates pitfalls to becoming so close to her partner. While Tender Warriors Club puts an emphasis on vulnerability and resilience, it picks up where After left off rather than switching gears, so is likely to reinforce established fans. For those just discovering Lady Lamb, it's as good a starting place as any in a reliable, still young discography.

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