There's plenty of noise on Medicine's second album, The Buried Life--all the hissing, whirring, crashing, and scraping make it seem as if the record were recorded in a large, disturbing shop class--but it also reveals a delicious pop sensibility. Band leader Brad Loner's guitar playing ranges between killer riffing ("Something Goes Wrong"), air-raid-warning dramatics ("I Hear"), and the triumphantly arching guitar solo on "Live It Down." Vocalist/songwriter Beth Thompson's harmonies with Loner are a pleasure, lush on "The Pink," sunny on "Never Click," and resolute on "Live It Down." It's all helped immensely by the tout, powerful rhythm section of drummer Jim Goodall and bass player He Goak. While all the accompanying noise is undeniably self-conscious if not downright contrived, at his best Loner uses it to add bite and impact to his songs. There's the sputtering, broken-blender drone that begins "She Knows Everything," the dentist-drill guitar and oil-drum-pounding break on "Beneath the Sands," and the whale calls lowing at the bottom of "Slut." In these moments the noise isn't a departure from pop--it's in the tradition of experimentation and delight in sounds for their own sake that runs from Pet Sounds to Kiko. Swervedriver headlines. Saturday, 7.30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Merlyn Rosenberg.