Bumpy roads give smooth Land-ing
By Paul Fruitman
Don't let the title deceive you. Wendy Lands' solo debut, Angels and Ordinary Men, is not Christian rock. But it is also far removed from rock's Anti-Christ side. Just the mention of Marilyn Manson makes Lands cringe.
"It's so gross that we could call that music," she sighs. "I just find it so destructive."
Lands prefers to look at things in a more positive light. She opts for Sarah McLachlan over Alanis Morissette. And she chooses to think of her music as less spiritual than religious.
"I'm not religious at all, but I think music is my religion," she says, weaving her way through a paradox. "I would love my music to promote goodness and creativity."
For Lands, the music has promoted a career and a personal outlet. Angels is a labour of love recorded between March of 1992 and December, 1994, first released independently and then picked up by EMI Music Canada last July. Upon signing, Lands changed the album's make-up, removing three songs, including her version of "Son of a Preacher Man," and replacing them with four new tracks. Among the new songs is Lands' premiere hit "Little Sins," a song which garnered a lot of airplay on modern rock radio across Canada.
"I was moving on when I had made that album," says Lands. "It was in my life for two years when I got a record deal and I'm constantly writing."
For the album, Lands assembled some of the country's most respected musicians, including Aaron Davis and David Piltch, famous as the musical support of the Holly Cole Trio
"As far as sidemen are concerned, they're such passionate musicians," she says. "So if they like the music, they're happy to do it."
Angels augments this musical prowess with singable melodies and introspective and passionate lyrics.
"Song lyrics come from a real personal place," she explains. "It's like therapy. It's like showing a naked side of yourself."
It is this expository writing combined with Lands' enchanting live performances which employ her theatrical experiences like her role in Les Miserables, that have garnered the Montreal native such critical praise. Billboard magazine went as far as to call Angels "easily one of the most impressive Canadian recordings in years."
Lands' free performance at The Embassy tonight should prove impressive, not to mention intimate. The show will be in the stripped-down vein, featuring Lands on vocals, a percussionist and two guitarists.
"I think people have to listen twice to my music," she says. "But once they do, they're hooked."