CD Review: Madman’s Lullaby / Unhinged
It looks like 2014 is getting off to a killer start for Kivel Records with its latest release Unhinged, first from new labelmates Madman’s Lullaby. Right from the first track “What If” I could hear the influence from some of the late 80’s best hard rock acts such as Tesla and, especially vocally, early Lynch Mob. This record has tons of groove and some very clever lyrics. If you’re looking for a feel good kind of album with romantic tunes with everyone in a happy state, turn away!
Unhinged is full of tracks dealing with the spiteful side of relationships and one might even say the revengeful side of life. I chuckled a bit after going through some of these lyrics but also marveled at their ingenuity. These guys write about what we all think about after the fact but rarely in the midst of our own personal lives or the lives of others. When you hear a line like “Yeah your tiny head trips have turned into something that I can’t explain” taken from the song “You Never Mattered” you know it’s not derived from the Richard Marx style of songwriting. Madman’s Lullaby are not breaking any new ground on Unhinged but if you enjoy good straight ahead rock with a no frills approach and a very old school feel then this album is for you.
“What If” starts off with a Lynch type riff from guitarist Brett MacMillan and an Oni Logan sounding vocal from Dave Friday. Perfect song as an up tempo opener to set the tone for the rest of the album. It’s amazing how much this sounds like something from Wicked Sensation (1990).
“Everything’s Wasted” is a bit slower in tempo but starts off with another great riff from Mr. Brett. enjoyed the solo during the bridge especially. Will come off great live because of its chant style chorus. A lot of head banging will be had during this number during gigs. Enjoyed it.
“Time to Time” – so much to love about this track. The riff, the vocal, the chorus, all of it. This song rocks hard and is also the most commercial sounding – outstanding. This is the album’s best track for me by far. Need’s to be a video made for this one…I have some idea’s guys!
“Gasoline” is a real heavy aggressive number that makes you feel like driving your car to 100 mph..not that I recommend speeding! It’s not a fast paced song but heavy on attitude. Good work out song, hitting that heavy bag. Bring this one to the gym.
“Gimmie Shelter” is fresh, catchy and as hard driving as “Gasoline” but more melodic. Album is not full of a ton of harmonies but this track has’em. Dave really reaches some serious high notes on this one. Ass kicker..
“How Can I” is the slow down a minute ballad. Dave really carries this track with his vocals. Very easy to start to sing along with this one after even just one listen. Sweet sounding acoustic guitars from Mr. Brett. A winner.
“You Never Mattered” is very aggressive and angry. I mentioned this one earlier but the lyrics are worth a read for those of you who are inclined to do so. Perfect FU song for anyone who sometimes feels the need to blow off steam or work off some energy from an especially long day . Have a bad day at the office..reach for “You Never Mattered”..it just might help!
“Standards So High “is a mid tempo rocker again with some very catchy lyrics. Angels, demons, God, dog’s on chains it’s got everything here. Dave has some incredible range here and one scream which almost broke the windshield in my car! Good work.
“Out Go Your Lights” is as scary as it sounds especially the bass work from Mike Tersigni to start off the song. Don’t listen with the light’s out. Freaky tune with some underlying thoughts about death. Demented screams from Dave as the song ends..almost too scary!
“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” has nothing to do with the Martin Scorsese film from 1974 with Kris Kristofferson and Ellen Burstyn. It’s another creepy tune about an old lady with two kids and a dead husband. Horror? Yep. Would make a great video..no question. Liked it.
“That One Thing” is the most diverse sounding song on the album. Starts off slow with some very melodic sounding vocals from Dave but then picks up the pace heading into the first chorus. Unusual choice to close the record but nevertheless one of the album’s stronger cuts. Mr. Brett has a long hard riving solo and Dave really belt’s out his lyrics at times and then slows the pace down and you can even hear some piano near the end as well. Wow this song took a lot of work I can tell.
Overall Unhinged is not the deranged, demented, unbalanced, disturbed written album its cover or title would lead you to believe. In fact it’s a perfectly sane hard rocker with many great moments both musically and even more so lyrically. I have been a follower of Madman’s Lullaby for a few years now having first discovered them on myspace. Unhinged shows a maturity in their songwriting ability while showing a wide variety of influences that have made them into a first rate hard rock outfit set to take the metal community by storm. Just make sure when you listen to Unhinged keep the lights on, your sense of humor open and the windows down because this album is meant to played loud. If you do get scared on a few of the tracks don’t say I didn’t warn you.