Alela Diane Menig, better known as simply Alela Diane, has managed to pull off a number of transformations in her relatively short career. From the sinewy folk of The Pirate’s Gospel to her poppy family band Wild Divine, the Californian singer-songwriter has gathered a varied set of personas. On her latest record Cusp she turns to consider the warmth and alien insecurity of motherhood.

The album revolves around the dual poles of mother and daughterhood, influenced by the birth of her daughter and the revelatory impact that the occasion had on her relationship with her own mother. Becoming a mother is portrayed as a terrifying and sacred experience, brought to life in the music by a straightened, glittering piano backing and gently pulling strings. The lyrics to ‘So Tired’ will ring true to any parent of a young child; ‘If you call to me / when you call to me / I’ll always come’.

The child’s appearance is drawn as a blinding light from out of the ether. Carrying a baby is compared variously to finding a new lover, cohabitation with a wild spirit, and being handed a second chance at life. There are echoes of Beck’s self-destruction and re-birth on his intense masterpiece Sea Change. ‘Never Easy’ compares a screaming bird to a screeching bird wheeling up towards the sun.

Parenthood informs everything on the album. The life and death of Sandy Denny is considered through the lens of the effect that the singer’s early death had on her young daughter. The old adage that an artist’s true legacy is his or her work is undercut by the disdain which Diane lays over the song’s final line; ‘Her melodies were all that remained’.

‘Ether & Wood’ is a beautifully fractured break-up song, the bridge lyric (‘I don’t live anymore’) turning on its head to become defiant (‘I don’t live here anymore’) then triumphantly final ‘I don’t live there anymore’). The glamorous hydrangeas and Redwoods of the lovers’ garden are strangled by vines. Along comes a daughter, by the sounds of it, unexpectedly. There’s a melancholy tinged by maturity throughout the record. Growing old is growing up, and new youth begins to fill the void left by the disappointments of love.

The songs of Cusp rest on the edge of a precipice; the weight of previous relationships and the news agenda that hits at the sensitivities of a new parent (‘Émigré’) bear down on Alela Diane. What the artist does with all of this uncertainty is admirable. She welcomes the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and carries on regardless. The hourly encumbrances of parenthood actually seem to give her strength. It’s a wounding, life-affirming ride.