To The Horses
11 Track, LP (2011, Ivy League)
Related: Lanie Lane.
Combining blues sensibility and ’50s chic with an eye on the past and no more than a passing interest in what’s happening now, Sydney’s Lanie Lane steps elegantly into the spotlight. Springing seemingly from nowhere, Lane has made the past couple years her own: a BDO appearance, guest vocal spot on You Am I’s ‘Trigger Finger’, national support for Justin Townes Earle, a collaboration and tour with Clare Bowditch and recording time with Jack White in the US. The only thing missing thus far, is a record. Enter To The Horses.
Whether flirting harmlessly with the silly and left-of-centre (‘Bang Bang’, with its thumping double-bass line and ringing “Bang, bang, bang-idy bang bang” chorus lyric) or pouring her heart out (the title track, with its mournful delivery and lyrics such as, “I’m going to the horses, if you can’t catch me then just give up”), Lane has proven that the growing interest she’s been receiving over the past 18 months is justified. For this is a record of poise and musical nous; one that oozes age and experience, despite being created by a young woman with barely either. Lane seems – in dress and appearance, as well as in a musical sense – to have stepped from another time, somewhere where she’s already been doing this for an age.
While the two tracks she recorded earlier this year with White (‘Ain’t Hungry’ and ‘My Man’) aren’t represented on To The Horses, it’s nonetheless a step up; there’s nothing over the top, there’s nothing here that seems forced, there’s nothing that makes you think this is a shtick. It’s simple, soulful music from another time re-crafted into something which – interestingly enough – makes perfect sense in this digital, shot-attention-spanned world of ours.
To The Horses is a little lacking in cohesion, however, containing as it does a number of genres worked together: rockabilly, lilting Hawaiian folk, blues, swing, a little jazz, some surf and spaghetti western. It can sometimes overwhelm, but it’s only fleeting because then you get carried away on Lane’s voice: strong and raw with the occasional hint of vulnerability. “Don’t cry, that’s below you/Oh well, that’s what you get, for fallin’ in love with a cowboy,” she sings on ‘That’s What You Get’, another example of the tongue-in-cheek stories she tells throughout the record.
With To The Horses, Lane has proven she’s worth the “hype”. She’s proven she can write seriously and in fun. She’s proven she can take “old music” and turn it into something fresh and vibrant. And she’s proven she’s a radiant streak of light, wrought upon the darkening roots scene in this country.
by Sam Fell