Madina Lake – “Attics To Eden”

Madina Lake are back with their second album, and this time they’re out with a lot to prove. They out to show people that they are not the “flash-in-the-pan” pop-punk band everyone thought they were when they first started out, but are in fact capable of creating an album filled with deep messages, hidden meanings and their own original sound. And Attics To Eden has done exactly that.

At first, I wasn’t sure about whether I would like this album or not, though I did enjoy their debut album From Them, Through Us, To You as it had a sound and energy about it that really propelled them to where they got to after House Of Cards did so well as a single. From Them, Through Us, To You was a great break-through album for Madina Lake, but it was very easy to see how everyone could perceive them to be “just another” pop-punk-emo band. However, it was when Attics To Eden started getting rave reviews across the board, not just a 4K review from Kerrang! (who, admittedly, were already big fans of Madina Lake anyway) but also similar responses from critics like Q Magazine and Rock Sound, saying how it was a “well-rounded rock album”. And, after hearing it all the way through, I can totally agree!

It is true that a lot has changed in Madina Lake‘s sound in making Attics To Eden – the most prominent being that the electronics sections of their music are a lot more obvious, and are used more in the actual music making rather than being put in the background. Album opener Never Take Us Alive is a massive song, and whilst it is very reminiscent of the sound of their debut, it also takes everything they did to the next level and sets the scene for the rest of the album perfectly. Everything is bigger, grander, and has an expansive idea behind it, the electronics immediately being more prominent in the music. As the album progresses to the songs Legends and Criminals, it’s easy to see how Madina Lake have adopted a more Muse-like sound in some of their work, mixing the electronics with low-end bass and lead guitar work in the higher end, making for a much less “sugary” pop-punk sound.

There are a few songs that are reminiscent of their debut, as Never Take Us Alive is. Never Walk Alone bears a similar resemblance to some earlier work of theirs, as does Welcome To Oblivion. But that’s not to say that either of these aren’t good, in fact they’re some of the albums highlights, along with easily the heaviest song on the record Silent Voices Kill. It’s the song Not For This World that perhaps carries the greatest message of stepping up and doing something that you believe in before you’re out of time, best represented by the line “Don’t let your life hide from your heart, your heart gives you the best advice.”

The band themselves have openly said that there are all kinds of hidden messages to their listeners about the stories and influences behind the music on Attics To Eden when the songs are played in a certain order or in a certain way, and I’m sure that if you were to look hard enough then you would find these, much the same as people did with From Them, Through Us, To You, and it’s all connected to their live shows and the confetti filled balloons that they use. The same goes for the artwork for Attics To Eden by artist Lynden St. Victor – all the conceptual threads about the robot and the woman, implying that time is cyclical and the dichotomy of the female character representing hidden messages as well. Even the album sleeve interior refers back to the character of Adalia, who appears in songs on their debut album, and from what I gather is the centre of a lot of these conceptual threads. Then of course, there are the fabled River People  from their debut – not just the name of their fan-group, but also of the group that stalk the outside areas of theidyllic town of Madina Lake. All of this shows that there is a much deeper concept to the music than people first imagine.

Overall, I think Attics To Eden has been a massive step up for Madina Lake. They’ve created an album that is likely to attract new fans across the board and their existing fans will likely be pleased with what they’ve created, whilst also giving them a new diversity in the music that expands greatly upon the sound from their debut.

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LISTED Film Previews – July/August ’09 (Part One)

These are the previews for the latest issue of Listed Magazine, but I’ve put that this is only Part One because I’ve only just been informed that they need ANOTHER set of July/August ones for the next issue as well, and then a set of August/September ones for the one after that, so they overlap a bit. Fun times! Also, this is giving me something to do since a certain company which I order my CD’s and DVD’s from screwed up my last order, and I’m STILL waiting for them to fix it. As if I wasn’t already annoyed enough that they sent me the CD without the actual CD in the case! Anyway, here’s the previews:

HARRY POTTER 6: FINALLY getting its summer release, it’s the beginning of the end of the multi-million selling franchise that IS Harry Potter. Potentially being the penultimate film in the saga (the final one is planned as a two-parter), this is set to be the darkest film so far, as Harry learns more about Lord Voldemort’s deadly past and unravelling the mystery of who the Half-Blood Prince really is. Amongst all that world-saving, though, they’ll also have to deal with a greater danger – Girlfriend problems! If you’ve read the books (which you probably have, everyone else has!), the mysteries won’t be so enticing, but otherwise this looks to be a good addition to the franchise. Released July 15th

PUBLIC ENEMIES: Michael Mann’s latest directorial release stars Johnny Depp in his latest guise of notorious bank robber John Dillinger in this incredible true story of the 1930’s Depression-era crime wave. Also starring Christian Bale, this film captures the attitude of a nation plunged into Depression by the banks of which John Dillinger decided to rob. We also see how this made him a folk hero to much of the public in the process, and how he became J. Edgar Hoover’s (Billy Crudup) and the newly formed FBI’s First Public Enemy Number One. Definitely worth catching if you like your true story movies. Released July 3rd.

FINAL DESTINATION – DEATH TRIP 3D: Once again, Death is out to get these pesky teenagers that keep cheating him. Same old storyline, same series of events. BUT, this time, it’s in 3D. Could this mean it’s going to be any better than the previous ones? Let me phrase it this way – it’s still people getting decapitated, exploded, punctured in various manners, disembowelled and basically being splattered all over the walls, except this time it’s coming RIGHT at you off the screen! Enough said! Released August 28th.

THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE: Eric Bana stars in the title role of this adaptation of the highly popular book about a librarian from Chicago who is in possession of a gene that allows him to involuntarily time travel. This, however, begins to cause problems for his love affair with the beautiful artist Clare in this romantic drama that’s ultimately about the test of love and patience, capturing the two in a romantic trap. Fans of the book should definitely be front of the ticket line for this! Released August 14th.

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS: The latest offering from writer/director Quentin Tarantino sees him broadening his material matter once more with a historical World War II thriller. Brad Pitt leads the cast as Jewish-American Lt. Aldo Raine, leader of a Nazi-hating group of violent army brats called “The Basterds”, who are chosen to spread fear through the opposing ranks by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. This is new ground being broken for Tarantino, and it looks like it may well pay off for him and if you’re a fan of his previous work, you’ll know you’re in for a gruesome thrill ride. Released August 21st.

As Published in Listed Magazine Issue 19 and on www.listedmagazine.com

Boring Bank Holidays!

That’s right, its a Bank Holiday, and the weather outside is pretty much the opposite of what you’d want a Bank Holiday to be. It’s cold, cloudy and the air is thick with moisture – so definitely not April Barbeque kind of weather! I mean, no-where is open, and people I know are either still away at uni, or are swamped with work (which is fine, because that’s what they’re paying the extortionate tuition fees for!). So, instead of going out and cooking raw meat on an open fire and smelling of smoke for days afterwards, I figured I’d kill some boredom by leaving another post on here, just as a sort of update on things.

I did actually go and see X-Men Origins: Wolverine  the other day, but I didn’t want to run home and put up a post about it, because it would have been less of a review and more of a rant. And no-one really wants to read my thousand-word-strong bitching about the intricacies of comic book adaptation movies, do they? Feel free to contradict me, if you must! There were a few things that I wasn’t fond of though – mainly that Gambit, although he started with a slight accent when you first see him, wasn’t really Cajun enough and slowly drops what little accent he had. It’s not a big deal really, but it made it harder to picture Taylor Kitsch actually as BEING Gambit. Also, there were things about Deadpool that they messed with right at the end that didn’t really add up properly, which was a shame because Deadpool is such a great character in the books. The whole film basically played out like Comic Book Top Trumps – Wolverine VS Sabretooth = Lose; Wolverine VS Blob = Win; Wolverine VS Armoured Truck + Machine Gun + Helicopter = WIN! I mean, that’s fine if that’s what you’re paying for (i.e. polished Hollywood script, exploding scenes with The Jackman casually walking away from the fires, his hair just ruffled enough to imply there was effort, etc), just don’t go to see it expecting a long, intricate plot detailing his entire existence. Or, much plot at all, really…

Anyway, now that that’s out of the way, there are other things happening soon that I’m looking forward to. Firstly, Madina Lake‘s new album Attics To Eden is out today (and I forgot that it actually was out today!) so I’ll have to order that soon and give that a listen as it’s been going down pretty well among the music critics! And in about another weeks time, Green Day release their new album 21st Century Breakdown, so I’m getting excited about listening to that as well, since it’s meant to be great material! Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any live gigs coming up anytime soon, since a lot of bands that are on tour aren’t coming down to the South Coast at all. Plus, the price of festival tickets seem to constantly be on the rise (they’re only just now putting Day tickets to Download Festival on sale, and Sonisphere is easily about £150 per ticket!), so at the moment it looks like the next show I’ll be going to will be The Answer  in December. Which is fine, because I’d easily wait that long to see them! But apart from that, to all the bands that are thinking of touring – seriously, venture down South a bit more, ok?!

So, yes, that’s what’s coming up, but as far as things go right now, they’re much the same. I haven’t done much more writing recently, but I hope to change that soon. Even so, I’ll hopefully add some script samples to a page on here when I work out which sample will look best. Also, perhaps if I can work on them, some more photos maybe.

And that’s about it. Boredom = Killed. Until I buy my next album, or see a film worth a review, go about your business!