Written by: Nic Gouveia
Oh how I love female vocalists. I am yet to be convinced that a man can sing anything better than a woman. And so I wait, four fucking years in fact, for Magneta Lane to release a follow up to the very successful Dancing with Daggers. Breath held for the next time I get to hear Lexi Valentine croon and subsequently make me melt into gleeful pop-noir gelatinous goo. With new album Gambling with God loaded into the iPod, I spent a cool autumn afternoon strolling thru Queen Street West in Toronto finding my answers.
You’d think with the band moving to Last Gang Records (Home for The New Pornographers and Metric) that Gambling with God would feature a more progressive sound. Sadly that’s not the case. It’s not that the album is bad, it just sounds like the previous two offerings by the band.
“Lady Bones” kicks the album off and given it’s an older tune in the Magneta catalog, you get the distinct feeling that the album will follow the tried and true blueprint the band has used before. Again, not necessarily a bad thing for a band that hasn’t quite “made it” but for fans, hearing an old song on a new album (in the first track no less) doesn’t exactly excite the old ear drums.
“Violet’s Constellations” makes up for the first track as the synthesizers compliment the driving bass line and backbeat altering my previous perceptions on where this was going. Sadly, it wasn’t long until I found myself forgetting about that and realizing the statement being made by the band. “Castles” “Bloody French” and “Queen of Hearts” are all standouts, but clearly Magneta Lane songs. The hope of a left turn in the trip fades and what you’re left with is a band who knows that this is what they are.
A strong statement and one I got loud and clear. Magneta Lane can progress, or at least change the style up a bit, but they are going to do it on their own terms. For that I cannot fault them and as I found myself walking south towards the lake I came to the realization that perhaps this album was released later than it should’ve. Gambling with God could have been my summer album, a perfect disc for a sunny road trip, but not for a chilly stroll.