ALBUM REVIEW: THE MEDICS – FOUNDATIONS

After two relatives got together with two close mates and formed a band you could say a solid foundation was built. The Medics released the well-received EP, This Boat We Call Love; won a Deadly award, played some festivals and were unearthed by triple j. Prior to the release of their debut album it’s fair to say there was a certain level of expectation awaiting this and yet the group have produced a strong and earnest record and are already thinking ahead.

For now we have the Yanto Browning-produced, Foundations, one brimming with full colour, stadium rock sounds. There are lots of distorted guitars lost in a swirling sea of tempos that reach ever so high, meaning that some hard crescendos collide with sound waves in sheer glory. The boys claim to be influenced by Radiohead and At The Drive-In. But for my money the music is closer to the epic tracks by Muse mixed with the rock of Kings Of Leon and the lush pop of The Temper Trap.

On “Beggars” we are treated to something that could be by the latter group as singer, Kahl Wallace’s vocals are like a breathy dream. It’s a great taster of things to come as his voice runs the full gamut of: fragile, wispy, haunting, edgy and feisty over the course of the 11 tracks.

“Rust” is a rocking ditty where the energy is found in both spades and full wide-screen. There is some skittish percussion courtesy of Jhindu Lawrie (the son of Coloured Stone’s Bunna Lawrie) while the words describe darkness falling, before the proceedings end with a great, big explosion. Musically these are about some rather heavy heights and they are soon replicated in “Griffin”.

There are some smatterings of percussion and reverb on “Ocean Eyes” where the harmonies soar up to the heights once scaled by The Bee Gees. “Joseph” meanwhile, is the absolutely perfect, popular single. This one shows how mature beyond their years this group of twentysomethings are. Consider them singing about walls being built to cover your pride while they build their own strong-house of guitars and what sounds like a thousand of these instruments.

But Foundations isn’t all about walls of guitar. There are moments that are like sweeping bellows off a mountain range like in the track, “Golden Bear”. Plus, “Deadman” is a rather soft ballad and “50 Years” is rather country-tinged. When this is combined with Wallace’s light vocals it seems like references to Youth Group are appropriate.

So while a lot of records ebb and flow and can contain as many moments of “miss” as “hit”, Foundations actually offers a lot more of the latter quality. It’s cohesive and fresh-sounding with just the right mix of melody, foot-stomping punch and smart, yet minimal lyrics that are about themes like: the passage of time, moving on and leaving home. Ultimately, this is one busy and exhilarating record that is full of a lot of different ideas including some real epics, while others are just hot, urgent and textured.

The Medics have said that they’ll continue to explore their sounds and find their musical footing (so to speak). But Foundations is one assured starting point. So if this musical journey of a thousand miles has begun with this single step, then this lot will continue to put their best foot forward for some time yet.

Originally published on 10 July 2012 at the following website: http://sludgefactory.com.au/medics-foundations-cd-review

Visit Sludge Factory’s homepage at: http://sludgefactory.com.au/

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