Wednesday 2 November 2016

Review: Medicine Rain – 'Still Confused But On A Higher Level'

'Still Confused But On A Higher Level'

Swedish gothic rockers Medicine Rain have been around since 1989, but are one of those bands whose history has been a slow burn. Their debut album was released a full six years after their inception and despite an initially positive response the band soon after went on a long hiatus meaning album number two never saw the light of day. Fast forward to 2016 and the recordings have been exhumed and finally see release as 'Still Confused But On A Higher Level'.

Very much in the vein of acts such as The Cult, 'Vision Thing' era Sisters Of Mercy, Rubicon, and The Mission the band's guitar and drum machine led attack is a classic evocation of the gothic rock style at its zenith and crossing over into the alt rock of the 90s. But more importantly the band are not ones to shy away from more experimental meanderings which make this a rather interesting listening experience.

Tracks such as 'Spinning', 'Obsidian', 'Move On', 'Let It Ride', and 'Tango' lead the charge with strong guitar leads and big choruses. While the likes of 'No More', 'New Religion', and 'Stay' for example add elements such as saxophone and surprisingly dance-friendly electronics. But it is the raucous and bluesy strains of 'Pumping like A Gun' that really steals the show as a near perfect synthesis of all of the above elements.

In terms of production it is a product of the time it was recorded and sounds very 90s, dated obviously by the electronics and recording style, but still given a nice modern spit and polish. But the most important thing is that it has a freshness and lack of cliché that keeps it relevant and interesting throughout its run time.

Retro gothic rock it may be, but this album raises one big question... what if? With the benefit of hindsight, this would have been a standout album if it had seen release when it was supposed to. But in the present this is still a great example of gothic rock as it should be done.

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