When: Tue., May 14, 8 p.m. 2013
According to the press materials for her recent debut album as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Ripely Pine (Ba da Bing), Aly Spaltro taught herself music after hours in the video-rental shop in Brunswick, Maine, where she worked in her late teens—something that might help explain the intuitive feel of the record. Spaltro is now 23 and living in Brooklyn, but the years right after high school she spent in Maine, learning to play guitar, picking up recording techniques, and performing solo in Portland. Ripely Pine, produced by Nadim Issa with a large support cast, shows off Spaltro’s sharp melodic sensibilities and easygoing voice, which at its coolest recalls the Tin Pan Alley breeziness of Leslie Feist; elaborate arrangements loaded with strings and horns bring bright splashes of color and extra oomph to her pop songs. She’s also a promising guitarist, breaking up the ebullience of the album by peppering it with stinging psychedelic solos. Ripely Pine has a few notable shortcomings—Spaltro all but squanders her knack for metaphor by devoting her lyrics entirely to romantic relationships, and she tends to embellish her vocal lines whether it improves them or not—but they seem mostly like byproducts of her youth. She’s too good now not to make huge strides in the years to come. —Peter Margasak Xenia Rubinos and Geoff Farina open.