EP Review: Madina Lake – The Beginning Of New Endings

Irrepressible Chicago alt.rockers Madina Lake storm back with their first new music in nine years – The Beginning Of New Endings

EP Review: Madina Lake – The Beginning Of New Endings
Sam Law

It’s been a long road back for Madina Lake. Although their last recorded output – terrific third LP World War III – dropped in 2011, it was the horrific assault on bassist Matthew Leone over a decade ago, on June 30 2010, from which they’ve always seemingly struggled to recover. Capitulation, though, was never an option. Summer 2017 saw an invigorated, six-date UK reunion run and the promise of new music. On April 3 this year, we were teased with the emergence of lead single Playing With Fire. Now, finally, they’re back to something like full strength with a five-track EP bristling with renewed purpose and promise.

"Ever since we bid the world our farewell in 2011, we've struggled to adjust to a life without writing, releasing, and performing music together," explains Matthew. "Over the years, we've developed an unbreakable bond with Madina fans all over the world,” expands his twin brother and frontman Nathan. “We're thrilled to reconnect through new music."

They’ve grown up and out in the time away. Although the pulsating angst and spring-heeled swagger of Playing With Fire is very much from the Madina Lake songbook, the layered-up electronics have a clear 2020 sheen (courtesy of guitarist/programmer/producer Mateo Camargo), while the sex and cynicism running through the lyrics speak of another ten years of hard-earned life experience. Love Is War explodes out of the speakers, a pop-punk anthem supercharged by cutting riffs and Chris Mason’s battering drums. Silver Linings unfurls with a deliberate pace, breathy vocals and real darkness running through its emo sensibilities.

It’s in the closing pair of tracks that they really feel like a band reborn, however. Heart Of Gold is ostensibly classic Madina Lake, with its grinning delivery and borderline cliched lyrical hooks (‘Your heart is beating like an atom bomb’) but the urgency, conviction and the widescreen dynamism of its composition – think Tales Don’t Tell Themselves-era Funeral For A Friend – are the hallmarks of artists with something to say and the need to say it. Tiny Weapons delves deeper-still, plumbing all the pain and frustration of those years away and laying it bare over a proggy eight-and-a-half minute sprawl that veers from a breezily emotive opening out across passages of jazzy weirdness and gouging post-hardcore.

There’s still plenty left to be said, of course, and unimagined chapters of the Madina Lake story to be written. Perhaps the highest compliment we can pay The Beginning Of New Endings is that we’re as excited now as we were a decade ago to see where these most deserving musicians go next.

Rating: 4/5

For Fans Of: Funeral For A Friend, The Starting Line, Kids In Glass Houses

The Beginning Of New Endings is out now via Strange Entertainment

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