Not A Moment of Silence
You may remember watching a few videos back in the mid-’90s on MTV when music videos were played non-stop from a band called Medicine, and you might even remember that the “Time Baby III” was featured in the film The Crow. And then, the shoegaze alt-rock band seemed to disappear shortly thereafter until about ten years ago, when founder/guitarist/keyboardist Brad Laner and musician Shannon Lee released a Medicine album as a duo. But now, eighteen years after the original breakup, the forty-six year-old rocker has managed to round up the original, iconic, and influential Medicine crew to release a brand new full-length album, To The Happy Few, on Brooklyn-based label Captured Tracks.
Songs are filled with the many layers Medicine is known for and there isn’t a moment of silence on any track. In fact, be sure your speakers or headphones are turned down low before you begin the album, because opener “Long As The Sun” might seriously blow them out.
On many songs, Beth Thompson’s vocals are distorted and sometimes she doesn’t even sound female, but “Holy Crimes” depicts her voice in a much softer and more welcoming light. And when, toward the end of the song, a slew of sound tries to overpower her voice, you can still hear her soft femininity.
Drummer Jim Goodall is excellent on the album, particularly in “Butterfly’s Out Tonight,” which is a song that also takes a more rhythmic approach and maintains a consistent beat.
Final track “Daylight” was actually the song recorded first, all in one day, and was enough to make the band realize they had another album in them. Goodall starts powerfully on drums while Laner follows simply, yet booming, on guitar. Other interesting choices are made on the keys, including something that sounds likes someone playing the triangle.
Back in the day, when shoegaze music was rare and still a little mind-blowing (and when the band was a little younger), this album may have caused more of a stir. But today, we’re all a lot more accustomed to the sound, although there are still many innovative and unique pieces here. Laner, who has since had a successful solo career and has recently worked with M83, says the band isn’t into endless touring and they’ll only be found playing at particularly cool and unique shows. There may not be much time to enjoy any live renditions of tracks from To The Happy Few, so find them while you can.