Magneta Lane – [EP]

Tuesday, 05 February 2013

It's unusual to actually be able to see a change in a band's fortunes coming, but one listen to Magneta Lane's WitchRock EP will show those who hear it that great things are on the horizon for the Toronto-based trio. That isn't meant to imply that good fortunes haven't visited the band before – Magneta Lane's first two albums and EPs saw the band rise brilliantly out of the Toronto scene as a great live act and able songwriters – but this EP marks a very exciting turn; no longer just relying on raw decibels and formulaic structures masquerading as would-be, should-be hits, Magneta Lane begins re-developing their sound from the ground up on WitchRock – they're introducing new sounds and dynamics in these four songs – and do so with a confident air on this recording. The presentation of all that here in just four songs proves to be revelatory; they've come into their own and matured with WitchRock.

Listeners who have been with Magneta Lane for a while and are familiar with the band's work will be able to recognize the difference between the band they've gotten to know over the last ten years and Magneta Lane as they are now from the moment “Burn” unloads to open the EP. Lo longer just rattling off secondhand rock riffs and vocal cliches, frontwoman Lexi Valentine starts to rock a smoldering, grinding melody while drummer Nadia King builds a fantastic percussive enclosure around her. If that was all listeners heard in this song, it'd be enough to get excited about – but it goes even further for extra credit. Producers Rick Jackett and James Black (a.k.a. the best, hardest rocking parts of Finger Eleven) have taken some reverb, delay and flange effects and used them to set up a truly eery backdrop behind both the singer and the beat, and the combination of all of those elements makes for a sound and form which is darkly attractive and danceable; sort of like Debbie Harry and Blondie as they were around 1999 with No Exit.

If the seduction of “Burn” wasn't enough to get listeners' juices flowing, the two songs which follow that introduction, “Good For” and “Leave The Light On,” will get the job done. Routing out a new direction which has more in common with The Gossip's dance-punk leanings than anything that has to do with straight-laces rock n' roll, Magneta Lane blazes a whole new course for itself with “Good For” and “Leave The Light On” and will have listeners (both old fans and the uninitiated) won in a walk because every inch of both tracks is danceable and loaded with enough hooks (both vocal and instrumental) to get caught in the minds of anyone who hears them. Not only that, but Valentine has really stepped up as a singer here; when she sighs out lines like, “Strange girls need strange things to keep them wide awake” and then backs them with melodic/dramatic pleas to please leave the light on (as she does in “Leave The Light On”), everyone will feel the hairs on their necks start to shiver in response in all the right ways.

As “Lucky” sees Magneta Lane close these proceedings on the loudest note one will find on the EP (it's close to Bif Naked in its dance-punk angle here), listeners will already be reaching to start the EP over; it's just that good. Appetites will be whet after hearing the WitchRock EP; four songs just isn't enough, listeners will be ready for more after they get a taste here. Let's hope this is indeed Magneta Lane's mature sound, and we'll be getting more in the very near future.



Magneta Lane's Witchrock EP will be available both digitally and physically on February 12, 2013. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

Comments are closed.