Madina Lake’s third studio release is World War III, this is also their first release since being dropped by Roadrunner Records back in early 2010. Not long after being dropped by Roadrunner the band hit another roadblock when their bassist Matthew Leone was attacked and left with severe head injuries, the attack is referenced in the opening song Howdy Neighbor!. He pulled through though and the band signed with Sony and are back with World War III, a fractionally darker album than their last offering Attics To Eden, but still Madina Lake in every way, this is great news for their fans, not such great news for those of us who don’t have a soft spot for them already!
I’m told that World War III is the third part in a trilogy of albums about a fictional town where a socialite Adalia disappears during the 1950’s. I’ve listened to all three albums and honestly can’t hear the story here. This album seems to be much more of a story about how the band coped with the aftermath of Matthew’s attack especially Matthew himself and his twin brother fellow bandmate and vocalist Nathan. I can’t see the story, which I’m told should be here, anywhere, maybe I’m just not looking in the right place!
What bothers me about Madina Lake is that they are far more pop than rock, we hear them described as post-hardcore and alternative rock, they get written about in some of the big rock and metal magazines, and really all I’ve ever seen is a boy band with guitars in their hand, I just don’t see the rock or metal link. The songs have a classic pop formula (with maybe a touch of EMO), they are clean, upbeat tunes designed for crowd sing-a-longs. Having seen these guys in action live, they attract the screaming girly crowd the same way pop boy bands do aswell….it’s pretty embarrassing!
World War III is signature Madina Lake, there is nothing new or original here. I’ve no doubt their fans will be fawning all over this album, but I’m not convinced and have not been converted.
This review was originally written for Alternative Matter, a site which has now closed down.