Album: Medicine

The Mechanical Forces Of Love, Wall of Sound

Medicine have been around in one form or another for over a decade now, initially as an American indie/ goth quintet who recorded an album, Short Forth Self Living, for Creation. The intervening years have seen the line-up whittled away until just singer/ guitarist Brad Laner was left. Somewhere along the way he appears to have lost the guitar and acquired the familiar armoury of synths and computers, with which he creates the prickly but oddly appealing pieces that make up The Mechanical Forces of Love. He's also, equally importantly, acquired a new singer in the person of martial-arts legend Bruce Lee's daughter Shannon Lee, who brings a dark sensuality and vocal sophistication to the project. The result is a bizarre soundclash of styles. The opener "As You Do", for instance, features a bricolage of jagged fragments of electronic noise: an extraordinary blend of the antagonistic and the enticing. Elsewhere, "Astral Gravy" has the chunky glam crunch of The Glitter Band, "Good for Me" sounds like some weird Devo/ Bananarama session mixed by the Aphex Twin, and "Best Future" could be Fleetwood Mac produced by the Chemical Brothers. But in several pieces, there's too great a distance between the chattering synths and the swirling layers of harmonies, leaving tracks such as "Whiz" and "Negative Capability" struggling to establish distinct character from the conflicting elements.

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