Album Reviews

Madina Lake – From Them Through Us To You

(Roadrunner) UK release date: 26 March 2007

Madina Lake - From Them Through Us To You Having already burned up the UK’s emo-rock audiences either side of the New Year with support slots to the likes of Paramore and Gym Class Heroes, Chicago’s favourite Kerrang poster-boys Madina Lake mark their belated arrival in the form of debut full-length From Them, Through Us, To You.

The brainchild of bassist Matthew Leone, From Them, Through Us, To You documents the disappearance of local socialite Adalia in the fictional ’50s mining town of Madina Lake. It’s an album beset with clunking visuals and broader-than-thou riffs, complementing twin brother Nathan’s expansive, excessive vocals tenfold to a beating post-hardcore centre. Whilst the idea of following up last years excellent prequel The Disappearance Of Adalia EP was always going to be a tough call for the Illinois quartet, it seems that where Disappearance merely forayed, From Them jumps head-long into with a torch and shovel to boot.

Whilst the word ‘concept’ will doubtless have many-a music lover running for the proverbial hills, it’s to be said that these aren’t just songs; they’re tales, intricately woven party pieces that fit together to form the story-telling core of From Them, Through Us, To You. Hell, there’s even an accompanying website to help the helpless figure out just what’s going on: bases well and truly covered it would seem.

Musically it’s the kind of emo/screamo hybrid we’ve come to expect from the likes of Alexisonfire and The Used – punchy, striking guitar work offset by a palpable mix of both screamo/singing vocals, and whilst it can at times come across as a tad cliché, Madina Lake certainly manage to make a better fist of it than most. Take lead single House Of Cards for example; a crunching mix of Panic!-esque electronica and Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation-era Funeral For A Friend, a subtle blend of melody and aggression with limitless potential.

And it’s this erstwhile creativity that sets the Chicago lads apart from their competitors. Whether it be the behind-the-back antics of Pandora (“the way you dance it turns me on, but you know that I’m spoken for”), the tragic tale of lead girl Adalia (“she cries cuz she’s lost and she doesn’t even know what she wants”) or the flailing ambition Of Stars (“we’ll runaway from everything you hate, runaway to everything you’ve wanted”), From Them, Through Us, To You documents brilliantly the small-town life of desolate Madina Lake.

Doubters will doubtless point to the fact that what’s here’s been done before, and they’d be right – musically it’s not terribly original – but From Them, Through Us, To You showcases a confidence and creativeness not often seen amongst today’s plethora of modern rock bands, and it’s for that reason that Madina Lake prosper. Get it now, before they get too big.

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Madina Lake – From Them Through Us To You