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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