Release Date: Oct 27, 2014
Record label: Captured Tracks
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Dream Pop, Noise Pop, Shoegaze
Less than a year after their welcome return to the shelves with their first album together in almost 20 years, the original members of Medicine returned with another installment in their thrilling comeback. To the Happy Few was a satisfying return to the sound Medicine perfected in their early days, then gave it a slightly modern tweak. Plus, it had great songs.
When I was in ninth grade, and took my first high-school music class, the teacher – a portly fellow who I thought looked a lot like Andy Partridge from XTC – explained to us what music really was. According to his definition, music was merely a collection of notes and rests. Nothing more to it. He did go on to say that this meant that this concept of what music is could go to extremes.
The reunion of L.A. noise pop specialists Medicine seemed to get overlooked greatly in the fuss that was made over a new album by former Creation labelmates My Bloody Valentine. But as band architect Brad Laner promised, Medicine would be quite a prolific force in their return, and he wasn't kidding. Just one year after their first new album in 18 years, To The Happy Few, Laner, Elizabeth Thompson and Jim Goodall have yet another new full-length to prove they are an unstoppable creative force.
Even the most tunnel-sighted of shoegazers probably weren’t clamoring for a reunion of Los Angeles’ Medicine, a band whose biggest break came in 1994 with a cameo appearance in The Crow. It was a match made in heaven at the time: a noisy, industrial pop band and a darkly supernatural action film, both seemingly predestined for cult status. The film, it turns out, had a bit more staying power than the band.
Onstage during a Hollywood Bowl concert last year, M83’s Anthony Gonzalez talked about how the veteran L.A. dream-pop band Medicine had influenced his music. Then he brought out Medicine’s leader Brad Laner to sing with him on M83’s “Splendor”—which makes sense, seeing as how Laner guests on the 2011 studio version of the song. The gesture was a small one in the grand scheme of things—it’s a safe bet few in the audience recognized the name—but it’s also indicative of Medicine’s less than enviable position over the years: a band loved, respected, and imitated by musicians, but minimally acknowledged beyond that.