(BGM, 2006)

My first impression upon seeing three beautiful women on the cover of Unbridled by Lantana was that I was about to review the new Dixie Chicks. Boy, was I wrong! I am very picky when it comes to the country music that I listen to and this CD just isn't going to make the cut. These ladies were blessed with beauty, but only one of the three has even a halfway decent voice. The only readers who should not quit reading this review right now are those who prefer looks over talent.

You are still reading, so I might as well mention the three pretty ladies who make up this trio. Karol Ann is the lovely, dark-haired member of the group. She has piercing eyes and a gorgeous smile. Biz, one of two blondes, looks like the serious one. Her smile is more subdued and her eyes have a cautious look about them. Dalene looks like a natural-born cheerleader. I can't look at her picture without thinking of Kirsten Dunst in the movie Bring It On. All three members of Lantana are slim in the waist and perky up top. Unfortunately, as a reviewer, I have to focus on the music.

With looks out of the way, let me describe the vocals. They're not too impressive. This is a group whose vocals are probably best heard live ... when you are drinking and can sing along just as badly. Since these women are already more attractive than average, I'm not sure intoxication can improve their looks. But I'm sure it can improve the way they sound. To be fair, one of these three (I'm not sure who leads on which track) has a pretty decent voice. If she went out on her own, I imagine she would get better reviews. The middle voice is very average. It isn't bad, but is not of the quality you would expect on a recording. The third singer is just plain awful! I won't say she is monotone since I think she can hit two notes, but there is a reason she is not quite singing -- but not quite talking -- when she belts out her lines.

As much as I don't like Unbridled, there are a few tracks that caught my attention and redeemed the CD a bit. I had to get to track 8 to reach the first one. "Let Somebody Love You" is a touching ballad. This is a rare track where the harmonizing improves the solo vocals. And, fortunately, the best singer in the group leads this track as well. The melody carries the piece. The lyrics are simple and basically talk about love improving one's life.

The other track I like follows next. "Give" has an important life lesson that seems hard for a lot of people to grasp. "You know when your life is over / It's gonna matter how you live / And you won't be measured by the things you've got / Cause it isn't what you get, it's what you give." The accompanying toe-tappin' music is an added plus. If this CD contained 13 tracks like these two, I would be writing a very different review!

I think Lantana explains their lack of country music talent on their first track, "Country as a City Girl Can Be." The lyrics, as I will demonstrate with the chorus, are one part clever, two parts eye-rolling bad. "Well I was raised up town where the smog and asphalt grow / Yeah, I'd heard of the South but never seen an old dirt road. / Then he turned me on to Haggard, Andy Griffith and sweet iced tea / I'm as country as a city girl can be."

I applaud the members of Lantana for having the balls to record Unbridled since it was apparently a waste of time. The only talent on this CD is in the hands of the back-up band. I would mention their names, but I personally would be embarrassed to be related to this uncontrolled mess.

Well, Lantana, I raise up my glass in a toast to you as I listen to Unbridled for the fifth and final time. May you always maintain your good looks!

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Wil Owen

1 September 2007

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