WL//WH LP REVIEW: Shoegaze Pioneers MEDICINE Strike Back With “Scarred For Life” LP

Album Review  Medicine

Medicine photo by Jeff Jacquin and Fred Collins

Βetween the groundbreaking shoegaze bands in the early 90s, there was Medicine from Los Angeles, a band which was fairly featured as America’s opponent awe to the British rising walls of sound…Following praises on their albums and after a hiatus of several years, Medicine is back with the band’s original singer Annette Zilinskas, presenting their brand new ‘Scarred For Life’ album via Drawing Room Records.

The brainchild of guitarist Brad Laner, the L.A.-based collective was among pioneers of the shoegaze genre and today, is one of a small handful of core bands of this genre to reform and still exist today, along with peers Slowdive, Ride, Swervedriver, and My Bloody Valentine. Brad Laner is one of the most prolific artists in the underground scene. His various projects include his experimental solo project Electric Company and psychedelic supergroup Lusk (with members of Tool and Failure), who received a Grammy Award nomination for their sole album. He has performed on over 300 albums, contributing vocals and co-writing on M83‘s 2011 album ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ and playing drums for industrial rock outfit Savage Republic. Laner‘s work has been sampled by artists such as Brian Eno and CaribouAnnette Zilinskas is best known for the musically disparate bands she’s fronted. Apart from co-founding Medicine, she is also the original bassist for The Bangles, as well as vocalist with influential roots-punk outfit Blood on the Saddle. She later led the dream-pop group Weatherbell and punky all-girl garage-rock trio 3 Hole Punch. End of their bio (which was needed indeed) and let’s go the new album now!

If you investigate the previous paragraph and translate it into music, you have almost 50% of what’s going on in ‘Scarred For Life’. The other 50% comes as a good surprise with fresh ideas on how to shoegaze the sonic kaleidoscope with targeted superposes of psychedelia and occasional wedges of garage sounding punk treatment (riffing). The record is an adventure in all, not only of its great musical ideas but mostly because of its unique arrangements. My truth is that it is a difficult record, but believe me, once it returns back alone after the first listening it is difficult to escape its beauty. You will listen to angular guitars all the way and a singer who navigates the whole with confidence and a vocal character-scarce. You shall witness shoegaze experiments like in ‘Black Satin‘ and ‘Pickup Song’. You’ll taste the contemporary psychedelia in ‘The Green Country’ and ‘The Sweetest Girl’ that are the most peculiar songs of the album, meaning that there is a strange old blow from San Francisco in there, get my point? The album is all in shoegaze tricks and strange games! Want a wall of sound to tempt? ‘Sentimental Lady’ is there for you. Want to party in the fields ‘Absolutely Free’? You have it too! Wanna rock and roll baaabeee? Try the homonym song of the album which is also the opener, also ‘Listen To The Band’! Want some sleazy urban blues too? ‘Dead Time Burner Blues’! Want me to point the super hit off the album on my stereo? ‘Sally Go ‘Round The Roses’, yeah! And pay attention to the privy gem ‘Expecting To Fly’, in fact!

Medicine’s current line-up sees Laner, Jim Goodall (the original drummer of the band), and Zilinskas reunited, along with guitarist Matt Devine, who played with Medicine on their last US tour in 1995 and also joined the band for their 2014 appearance at Austin Psych Fest. It all looks that we have the reunion of ages in here and I am pretty sure that all of you who enjoy shoegaze noises and psychedelic arts, will discover some new glories now! ‘Scarred For Life’ is finally not just a good record, it is an achievement. Here it is!!!

Keep up with Medicine & Brad Laner:

photo by Beatrix Zilinskas

Written by Loud Cities Mike