Somehow, there's a bass like a dance track, an old-school soul delivery with energy like Spaltro's unhinged. Seriously. Listen to the mocking "ha, ha, ha, ha" that helps close the truly rocking "Bird Balloons," which is otherwise like 6gig with rounded edges, plus a hip-hop bravado: "I'm a ghost and you all know it/I'm singing songs and I ain't slowin'." And is that Dr. Dre programming the strings after the tempo change into a strut?
But we're talking unhinged. How about "I still need your teeth in my organs" as a repeated lament? It's what drives "You Are the Apple," a jazz-punk tune that features a sneaky three-note guitar riff and stalker vamp. She's magnesium on fire, but you never want to look away.
After years of living only with her first demos done in a home set-up, the amount of volume and body Brooklyn-based producer Nadim Issa delivers from such sparse arrangements (all done by Spaltro) is just so satisfying. It's every bit an artist coming into her own. To see this executed with a full band — to reportedly include bass, drums, trumpets, trombone, violins, viola, cello, tuba, clarinet, keyboards, autoharp, and a choir (maybe not all at once) — will be pretty special, indeed.
Often enough, though, Spaltro proves she doesn't need much accompaniment at all. "Regarding the Ascending Stairs" is a banjo tune like Abigail Washburn's sorta-goth sister, where you can hear her walk in, sit down, and begin to play, and the sentiment is like this: "You handle me like an infant skull/And I cradle you like a newborn nightmare."
After a whole song's worth of patience, a playful electric bass line pops in, along with a tambourine. It fades and comes back even better, integrated with the banjo plucking so that they bounce off each other like helium atoms in a balloon.
How is this woman only 23? Her feel for dynamics, depth of feeling, and general grace are pretty special. To think that this is just the beginning? That's fairly exciting.
RIPELY PINE | Released by Lady Lamb the Beekeeper | on Ba Da Bing Records, Feb 19 | at SPACE Gallery, in Portland | March 2 | ladylambthebeekeeper.com