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Worth a Thousand Words: The Lamb by Lala Lala

Worth a Thousand Words: The Lamb by Lala Lala

The Lamb  by Lala Lala (Image retrieved from https://lalabandlala.bandcamp.com/album/the-lamb)

The Lamb by Lala Lala (Image retrieved from https://lalabandlala.bandcamp.com/album/the-lamb)

The Lamb by Lala Lala: A Lamb in Lion’s Clothing Released: September 28, 2018 Label: Hardly Art

The first time I saw Lala Lala live was also the first time that I had ever heard of them. They opened for Diet Cig, a band that was very new to me at the time as well, at a show in Buffalo back into February of 2017; both bands are now in my heavy rotation, along with the likes of Snail Mail. Just like Snail Mail, which recently released their sophomore album as well, Lala Lala has matured in the best way possible.

Their debut album, Sleepyhead, combined themes of youthful disdain, disappointment, shortcomings, and triumphs. The singles that were released from The Lamb have those elements, but the album seems like a more grown-up undertaking, and I mean that and what follows in the best way possible. Sleepyhead had a more stripped-down feel to it; muddy guitars, some distortion effects on the vocals, and some repetitively used hooks and phrases that carried over multiple tracks. The Lamb, however, seems to be more produced right off the bat. The 12 track LP is the band’s first record with the label Hardly Art.

In an excerpt from the bio portion of the band’s website, lead singer Lillie West is quoted as saying: “The Lamb was written during a time of intense paranoia after a home invasion, deaths of loved ones and general violence around me and my friends.”[1]

With such powerful inspiration to draw from, it’s no surprise that The Lamb has already shown itself to be incredibly powerful just by the three singles that were released ahead of the September 28th debut. Opening with “Destroyer”, first thing I noticed was that the mix is wonderful, with crisp vocals and guitars right off the bat. The dark and storminess of the guitars from Sleepyhead are still there, but the production value is so much better this time around. The beginning of our emotional connection with the band on this album starts at the chorus, repeating over and over:

“You were the reason that my heart broke behind my back.”

The subsequent tracks all build upon this quote, beckoning the listener to go on this journey with Lillie as she opines to us over the course of the LP.

“Water Over Sex” showcases the band’s first use, that I can tell, of an electronic drum kit, with synth beats and claps sprinkled over the track. The lyrics here are just as complex as the backing track. Everyone struggles with being compared to other ideals that we compare ourselves to, and for the most part we don’t want to cause anyone to fuss over us as we try to improve. Lillie captures that feeling, as evidenced by the lyrics:

“I hope there’s no trouble it’s nobody’s fault...”

and,

“You think I’m good well I want to be gooder...”

There’s a popular theory called “Impostor Syndrome, in which the sufferer believes that their successes are not their own, they don’t belong or deserve to be where they are, and that others are going to find out and tear them down. I for one suffer from this All. The. Time. “Water Over Sex” tells us to take care of ourselves and beat back the rising tide of doubt in any way that we can[2].

“Dove” haunts me. Much like how quickly a dove can take flight, the underlying subject of this song is loss; a lost love, missed opportunities, or whole failures in general, I certainly feel like I’m watching a loved one walk away from me with tears rolling down my face when I hear this track. One key lyric that ties this track all together:

“… and now you’re gone, for some prettiness that I don’t believe. It’s all made up, everyone just leaves...”

That line describes so simply how some people can be quick to leave us when things get tough, or if a bigger and better opportunity arises. “Dove” is a quiet rallying song, begging us to keep our heads up and carry on, if only for our own sake.

Now, the whole album isn’t a punch to the gut the whole way through. Tracks such as “Spy,” “I Get Cut,” and “Copycat” all have higher tempos and sound more cheerful, even if they are dealing with similar subject matter like the aforementioned tracks did. This album, at its core, feels like it will contain something everyone can relate to. Teenage angst gives way to adult envy, for what others may have and we may not, for great successes and mighty falls. I view The Lamb as a uniting force; It can certainly get tough and lonely out there, even without the world being as it is currently. Music is, in my opinion, the great unifier, something that transcends language barriers or social differences. It’s what we need in times like these, and the lamb, a recognized symbol of peace, is greatly needed and appreciated. I’m left wanting more from this album, and I’m not making a dig at the content of this record. Rounding off at just over 33 minutes, another half hour worth of music would fit in seamlessly and still feel as well thought out and complete as the first half. At the end of the day, The Lamb is a slow burn that’s short, sweet, and poignant.

[1] Hardly Art. Bio. 2018. Website. 25 September 2018. <https://www.lalabandlala.com/bio/>.

[2] Hendriksen, Ellen. What Is Impostor Syndrome? 27 May 2015. Website. 25 September 2018. <https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-impostor-syndrome/>

Worth a Thousand Words: Tranquility Base Hotel &amp; Casino by Arctic Monkeys

Worth a Thousand Words: Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino by Arctic Monkeys