Lady Lamb takes a step forward from her 2013 debut, growing into her talents with confidence on her often enchanting sophomore record. Lamb (real name Aly Spaltro) has opened up her approach for these 12 nuanced songs, which balance intimacy and openness with a searching mind and vibrant spirit. The 25-year-old Maine native’s gift of melody remains assured, but unlike her rawer debut, “Ripely Pine,” or 2010’s demo-ish basement tapes, “Mammoth Swoon,” the sound here is bright, with restless guitars, horns, and roiling rhythms. Arrangements are often bold and shape-shifting (“Dear Arkansas Daughter,” “Atlas”). As a lyricist she’s a miniaturist, revealing emotional and narrative details with a fine eye and, at times, dreamlike whimsy (“Penny Licks,” an alternative version of which appeared on “Mammoth”). With “Sunday Shoes,” an elegiac meditation on mortality, Lamb achieves a poetic power rare for someone so young. With her lovely, expressive voice, she finds the truths at the core of each song, making this one of the early year’s breakthroughs. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Sunday Shoes”
Lady Lamb performs at the Sinclair Saturday.Ken Capobianco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.