Sound — 7
Madina Lake may have grown up, sonically, but that's not to suggest that they've regressed into a serious, staid sound that will attract old folks to the lair! The Chicago-based band doles out fun, booty-shaker music and manages to remain as energetic as an ADD-afflicted adolescent binging on caffeinated, sugary soft drinks with songs like "Welcome to Oblivion" and "Let's Get Outta Here." But things aren't quite so frivolous, footloose and fancy free any longer. Attics to Eden abandons some of the pogo-style pop punk that the band offered up on their 2007 debut and switches it out for layered, nuanced song structures and an obvious appreciation for Brit pop icons Muse, in a sound that is by nature a little more somber and thoughtful. Attics to Eden maintains an artier sound and while the band may fall victim to the haters accusing them of trend-hopping or eventually have to deal with their younger fans scratching their heads and wondering what the hell happened to the band that they loved two years ago, the album does nothing if not grab your attention with its neo-nu wave vibe and almost modern disco dance moments. There's a lot going on with Attics to Eden and it may cause the band to develop an entirely new listening base to go along with their current fans.
Lyrics — 7
Singalongs? Check. Lyrics that the "kids" can relate to? Check. Harmonies? Yep, those are there, too. Attics to Eden is a participatory record that invites the listener to have his or her voice be hears via the singalong. While references are made to things like drinking martinis, vocalist Nathan Leone waxes about plenty of other things that the throng of Madina Lake fans can relate to and the band will always and ultimately connect with its fans in the most direct of ways with the ability to bob along to these tunes.
Overall Impression — 8
Madina Lake obviously tossed a whole lot of caution right into the wind when the initiated the process of writing and recording Attics to Eden, which marks a sharp shift to the left. It was a gusty move that certainly deserves a round of applause, since it's always easier to stay where you are and within your comfort zones rather than take a flying leap into the great, wide unkown. It may take some time for the record to find its audience, since there is a large musical difference from the last album to this one, but it is a step up for the band. Rather than recycling the same open three chords and riffs from their debut, they chose to take a measured risk and lean heavily on some precious Brit pop influences. Whether or not fans will react favorably or whether new fans will flock to the band as a result remains to be seen. Regardless, trying something completely new definitely captures our attention.