How a break-in and bereavement led Lillie West to readjust and change everything
‘The Lamb’ initially seems to be a misplaced title for Lala Lala’s second album. Lillie West, the London born musician behind the nom de plume, is fraught with insecurity and a fierce drive for self-improvement. Her churning lo-fi guitar, searing lyrics and deadpan vocals nonetheless prove that she’s no one’s victim or Christian stereotype of the sacrificial ruminant.
“The album was me writing about and thinking about how to be a person again,” she clarifies down the line from her home in Chicago, where she’s holed up during a break from her current tour with Wolf Parade. “It was like I was a baby sheep learning how to walk, figuring out what my life was going to be like after being sober. Because it felt like so much of my identity was drinking and I really had to readjust and change everything.”
It’s a period of recovery that’s knitted into the fabric of the 12 tracks that comprise the album, which is her first to be released on Sub Pop’s Hardly Art imprint. Her new-found sobriety was severely tested when she suffered bereavement and a break-in that left her with “periods of utter paranoia.” As a result of this she was “afraid to leave my house” and spent the hours trapped inside writing.
These experiences are ever-present in the recurring images of violence and self-doubt but ‘The Lamb’ also strives for a better version of West. As she sings on the new wave DIY of ‘Water Over Sex’, a song that was inspired by her love of St. Vincent: “You think I’m good / I want to be gooder.”
“I guess it’s a thing that everyone feels,” she notes of the sentiment, pausing to cough and sniff with the cold she picked up on a plane home from Malaysia. “I would like to feel like I belong where I am.”