Aly Spaltro has the ability to make anything seem lovely—even getting torn to shreds by a pack of wolves.
On "Sunday Shoes," a song from After, her second album as Lady Lamb, the New England singer-songwriter gently describes a woman attempting to protect her baby sister from a pack of hungry lupines, only to get dragged off to their den and devoured herself. "But don't be afraid," she sings over softly picked guitar. "Don't worry my love/ It will feel so nice on your soul."
"The brain works in mysterious ways," says Spaltro via phone from a tour stop in Iowa, explaining how "Sunday Shoes" sprang from some kind of vague family squabble. "For some reason, I wrote that song in a day and then felt better about things."
Spaltro is inspired by unexplainable imagery, particularly that produced by her subconscious. Her moniker, formerly Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, was pulled from an old dream journal. But Spaltro says After is more about the waking world: reveling in the sympathetic smiles from your fellow passengers on a bus you almost missed; the company of television failing to replace the company of a lover; peeling an orange on a train next to a yawning woman. Her songs seem to follow more of a narrative arc than the cycle of a typical pop song. But aside from âSunday Shoes,â After is anything but sparse. Itâs dense, with everything from banjos to brassâthough Spaltroâs dauntless vocals and guitar stand out most.
A self-described introvert, Spaltro says her music has always been a way "to kind of cure the parts of me that I felt were sad or lacking." Despite their self-healing properties, though, her songs aren't overly confessional.
âDo I want to reveal every broody, black-and-white detail of my life? No, not really,â Spaltro says. âI want to work through the issues I have in a poetic way.â Still, she isnât emotionally evasive. âI had an early discovery that part of the reason why people were drawn to [the music] is because I was just being myself,â she says. âI just try to stay focused on being honest and being myself, and I know if I do that, then people will connect to it.â