Roadrunner Records, one of the cornerstone American metal labels, has dabbled in other genres from time to time, most notably talented cabaret duo the Dresden Dolls, but just why the hell they would take a chance on an emocore band like Madina Lake defies logic. The Chicago foursome’s debut full-length is an uneven one, full of simpering post-hardcore tunes that drip with syrupy pop melodies, yet is sporadically peppered with adventurous little musical excursions that have us wondering if the label just might be on to something. There’s a lot of mainstream-friendly fare that cater to the Warped Tour masses, like instant pleasers “Here I Stand”, “Now or Never”, and “One Last Kiss”, but there are instances on From Them, Through Us, to You that hint at some Muse-style audacity, as heard on “Pandora”, “True Love”, and “House of Cards”. Unfortunately, Madina Lake plays things far too safely, relying too much on trite bubblegum hooks, and not being daring enough to produce something more lasting. They’d be better off ditching the carefully-coiffed comb-overs, too, lest labelmate Zakk Wylde comes along and tear them a new one.
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// Notes from the Road
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