After garnering themselves an excellent live reputation since forming from the ashes of the now-defunct Selective Service in 2014, Glaswegian four-piece Medicine Men release their long-awaited debut LP Into The Light.
The record bursts into life with the instrumental ‘A La Llum’, which eases into the glam-stomp, call to arms of early single ‘Show What You’re Made Of’.
The record revolves around a largely defiant sound, the sound of a band making music without compromise.
‘Golden Packets’ and ‘Bruised Peach’ are both urgent and demand full, undivided attention – on the former, vocalist Iain Mackinnon almost can’t get his lyrics out quick enough, while the latter begins with a slow-burning verse before the chorus explodes into life.
It is the type of chorus that Kasabian forgot how to write after their first album and will no doubt be chanted back at them on numerous occasions over festival season.
The one thing that remains constant throughout Into The Light is an underlying groove, even on the needlessly-long ‘Eggshells’ or the more moderately-paced ‘Realise/Forget’, the record continues to pulse and flow.
The band cite the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Tame Impala as key influences and their mark is evident in the way that the songs are constructed around synth hooks.
The one moment where the electronics stop, and humanity returns is on the heartfelt ‘The Balcony’; written about Mackinnon’s late father, it is an uplifting ode to a hero and role model.
The frontman, with lump in throat, sings: “you were working hard for your flesh and blood, it always your mouth where the truth came from, through the tears it was laughter that brought you home, and I was there”.
It’s impossible not to shed a tear at this tender eulogy, which is the highlight of an excellent album by some distance.
It has been a long-time coming, but that time has benefitted Medicine Men who have ended up delivering a very strong debut record.
They wear their influences on their sleeve, and their music isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, however their willingness to experiment and intelligence around song structure means their music has an unwavering depth, the likes of which are rarely matched in what is fast-becoming a genre full of watered-down impersonators.
Words: Graham McCusker