Release Date: 18/09/2020
Record Label: Strange Entertainment
For Fans Of: The Used, Yellowcard, Elliot Minor
If 2020 has taught us anything it is surely to always expect the unexpected. Along with the obvious global pandemic, it’s hard to imagine anyone predicted that after nine long years Madina Lake would return. Lockdown had us all questioning our sanity at times but there was nothing make-believe about their comeback, with The Beginning of New Endings being as real as it gets.
For those unfamiliar with Madina Lake, the alternative rock band stormed the scene in 2007 with huge singles following such as ‘Here I Stand’, ‘House of Cards’. ‘Never Take Us Alive’ and ‘Hey Superstar’, releasing a trilogy of albums in the process. The band themselves have admitted that the heights they reached left a void in all their lives during their lengthy hiatus. Despite the break, Madina Lake’s fans have never wavered in their support, and the four-piece are stoked to reconnect after all this time.
There’s a fire that burns in the belly of this album, fuelled by their joy at being back together as a band. The resulting product of that fire are tracks which are relentless and ferocious, like ‘Playing With Fire’, which takes off at an exhilarating pace and hardly stops to catch its breath. ‘Silver Lines’ has a thrashing untamable tempo that is only softened slightly by Nathan Leone’s vocals. ‘Love Is War’ is another example of the melodic aggression that Madina Lake are clearly aiming for with The Beginning of New Endings.
The aggressive nature of this record is intentional, consistent and at times effective, but on occasions this forceful assault feels as though the quality of the track is jeopardised by focusing too much on that aspect alone. ‘Heart of Gold’ aims to deliver such a punch but feels wide of the mark, as though the vocals are lost amidst a track that is so intent on delivering a body-blow that it forgets to put its guard up.
The stand-out effort on The Beginning of New Endings is the dramatic and theatrical ‘Tiny Weapons’ that runs for a whopping eight minutes and twenty-four seconds. The track feels like a whole story in itself, with twists and turns, hooks and drops, peaks and troughs. Its sound wavers between psychedelic fantasy rock, angsty alt-rock, and anthemic art for the ages. It marks a step in a different direction from the rest of the release and is evidence that post-hiatus Madina Lake really have something to offer today’s alt-rock scene.
The Beginning of New Endings is largely very similar to Madina Lake’s previous work but a little crisper and sharper in its sound, and with more depth in its production. There’s a sense of comfort in the way that Madina Lake largely stay true to the sound that their reputation is built upon, but it could be argued that aspects of the album feel slightly dated as a result. There are glimpses that shows Madina Lake still have a lot to offer, however to tap into that aspect of the band they’re going to need to push boundaries and consistently stretch themselves as it’s not 2011 anymore, the scene has changed.
Recommended Track: ‘Tiny Weapon’