Released: August 2006
Label: Roadrunner Records
While listening to this short and sweet debut album from Chicago band Madina Lake, I tried desperately to remember who it was they reminded me of. About three tracks in, it came to me ? Aidan. The good news for Madina Lake is that although they do come off with a sound very similar to the metal-leaning band from Seattle, theirs is much easier to listen to the first time around. The group has been described as having a punk rock sound, and while I’m inclined to agree that they do have punk tendencies I would describe this as more emo, akin to AFI in terms of lyricism and melody. They’ve recently toured with Paramore and I can see how these two bands, both relatively new on the international stage, complement each other in delivering an edgy yet overall tidy and compelling sound.
The Disappearance of Adalia came out last summer and although it is a mere six tracks long, each are well written and executed. Nathan Leone does a great job with the vocals, Mateo Camargo’s guitar shines through intensively, and Matthew Leone not only delivers on bass but is credited with the creation of Madina Lake; that is the fundamental theme of the band and of this album. The bassist has reportedly conceived of Madina Lake itself: a town isolated in the mountains of America that has remained ideologically in the 1950’s. The Disappearance of Adalia has grown out of that theme and is considered the working soundtrack to this fantasy town.
While some people claim the band has used the town of Madina Lake as a political platform, I’ve remained in the dark on any underlying agenda of the album and this is largely why I label this work emo instead of punk ? that coupled with the more mellow and almost tormented sound of the tracks. While I do always like to see politics on an album, I don’t think this loses anything for not bringing it to the forefront. The songs are stable in themselves, and the flow of the entire album is enjoyable. It’s a good album, and it’s a fantastic debut, especially for four young guys whose band was only formed in 2005. The only real disappointment in this release is the length ? it’s not often you find such a short big label album these days, and the band has actually earmarked March of this year for the release of their next endeavour, From Them, Through Us, To You which I entirely expect to be a full length.
The enduring feeling I take away from listening to Madina Lake is that they’ve managed to meld several closely related musical genres together in a way that holds up under scrutiny. Yes, they reminded me of Aiden and a few other hardcore bands, but I can honestly say I’d rather listen to Madina Lake if given the choice. I guess the question is, will they be able to overtake AFI in the years to come? I’m looking forward to finding out.