Album: The Lamb
Artist: Lala Lala
Sub-Genres: Indie, Indie Pop, #Lofi
Label: Hardly Art
Non-Airable Tracks: None
Lala Lala released their second album, The Lamb, on September 28 via Hardly Art records. I’ve really been enjoying this release for the past month or so since it came out, and it’s probably one of my favorites of the year so far (not that there’s too much of 2018 left, or that my opinion holds that much weight, but still). This album retains the straight-forwardness, balance of grit and sweetness, and catchiness of their debut 2016 release, Sleepyhead, but moves forward with a larger sense of maturity and expansion in songwriting, a varied stylistic palette, and an increased gravity and complexity.
Imagery and symbolism of lambs often encode innocence, gentleness, and a childlike sense of wonder and hope – and, often, a sacrifice or loss of these qualities. Themes of grief, loss, a lack of security, and confronting destructive and restrictive elements in your life (especially those that are internal or self-driven) as you come into your own in adulthood and transition between periods of your life are at the center of this album. Lillie West (a.k.a. Lala Lala) utilizes a sharp and self-aware, vivid consciousness to evoke heartfelt, vulnerable self reflection and honesty in her writing. Catchy and incisive melodies and hooks are joined by an increased complexity, weight, texture, and overall sense of movement. Sonically as a whole, the album is quite diverse – shifting from the lo-fi, straight-forward and charming guitar-driven sound that drove her previous album to more ambitious arrangements, experimentations in instrumentation (there’s some nice guitar work and a lot more synths, which I feel really does some interesting things in terms of texture, weight, and overall feel of the album, and the closing track See You At Home has some great saxophone sections), and a greater feeling of progression throughout the course of the work. Yet, everything flows and transitions so that the album as a whole is cohesively held together.
Much like its core, in asking one’s self and examining how to move forward after loss, personal hardship, and stagnation, growth tempered with a sense of presence and awareness, this album leaves me with a feeling of honestly, self-reflection, and emotional and personal honesty – and through that, transformation. Each song and the album as a whole change and reveal more of themselves over time. The process of “learning and unlearning,” and the emergence after a period of volatility, as West expressed in her Bandcamp Daily interview about the album, work together with the musical and emotional expansion on this album to make it memorable, cathartic, and overall great work.
See You At Home
Reviewer’s Name: Gabrielle
Date of Review: 10/28