CD Review: Magneta Lane “Gambling With God”

Even though all-girl bands are few and far between, you will find one that is very impressive every once-in-a-while. Three of the most famous all-girl bands would be Bananarama, The Runaways and The Bangles. One of the most impressive all-girl bands that are in existence right now is the band Magneta Lane.

Magneta Lane is a trio out of Toronto, Ontario. The trio is made up of family members- Lexi Valentine (vocals & guitar), Nadia King (drums), and French (bass). The three ladies have created a rock outfit that has a solid sound and style that is very impressive, especially for only being in existence since 2004.  Since that first year of the band’s history, the group has amassed a collection of three albums- The Constant Lover and Dancing With Daggers, which were released on Paper Bag Records, and 2009’s Gambling With God, which was released on Last Gang Records.

When you put on Gambling With God from Magneta Lane, you get a picture of three ladies who really want to create something different with their music. Their sound can be described as nothing less than songs in the style of good, old-fashioned Rock ‘n’ Roll: The music is strong, the musicianship of the band members is solid, and their energy never falters during the length of the disc.

One of the best things about the Gambling With God disc from Magneta Lane is the fact that every song has its own feel. Even though the band has a distinct sound that the listener can really get into, the band lets their influences shine in their music and that adds enough flavor to the style that the album remains fresh from start to finish.

The release starts with the song “Lady Bones”. The song is a great way to begin the newest release from this band. The song’s strong beat that comes courtesy of Nadia King’s drums and the melody that comes from Lexi Valentine and French get the listener wanting to hear more right from the beginning. The track’s strong driving feel and the powerful melody create one track that demands repeated listening.

As fast as the trio created a driving track with a strong beat, the band slows things down quite a bit on the next song. The track “Violet’s Constellations” comes with a slower pace to the song and a slightly more melodic quality to the music itself. And while the previous track of “Lady Bones” featured the guitar and bass that combined to create the basis for the melody on the track, it’s the keyboard that brings the music alive on “Violet’s Constellations”. The different feel of the song tells the listener that this album will be anything to predictable.

The fourth song on the album is entitled “Castles”. With this song, the trio brings the energy level of the music back up. And the trio changes their musical direction with this song as the music brings to mind songs that were part of the New Wave era of Rock and Roll. The hard-rockin’ track has a feel that brings back the memory of Altered Images, a Scottish band from the eighties who had a small run of hits including “Happy Birthday,” and “I Could Be Happy”.

The most unusual track from the group is “September Came”. Although the rest of the album has a modern feel to it, this song is very reminiscent of the “wall of sound” feel that Phil Spector had created during the early days of rock and roll. The lyrics are easy to sing along with, the production is very simple and you can almost imagine Sonny Bono backing up the band on the drums.

The album picks up once again with the song “Bloody French,” one of the strongest tracks on the disc. The strong drum beat at the beginning of the track really makes the listener want to get up and dance with the music. And the strength in the guitar makes the song feel as if the trio is trying to incorporate a little Hard Rock into their sound.

And while “Bloody French” has a strong drumbeat that keeps the listener’s interest, the very next song features another instrument that keeps the listener’s interest. On “Love And Greed,” it’s Lexi’s guitar strumming that makes the song. Her playing makes the instrument sound more as if it was a cimbalom rather than a guitar. The energy in the track as well as the harmony in the vocals places the song somewhere between Alternative Rock and New Wave. “Love and Greed” is one of the strongest on the entire Gambling With God release.

Throughout the ten songs that make up Gambling With God, the 2009 release from Magneta Lane, the band shows many sides to their personalities, show many different styles to their playing, and many different influences that make the music from these ladies so full-bodied.

You know an album is good when the last note of the release comes way too soon. Before I knew it, the last seconds of “Queen of Hearts” were drawing to a close and Gambling With God, the latest release from Magneta Lane came to a close. It made me wish that the album were longer.

To find out more about Magneta Lane and their music, you can find them online at www.magnetalane.com. You can find their MySpace profile at www.myspace.com/kissingiseasy.