Medicine boy resuscitate the Alternative for a new generation
I loved Medicine boy’s 2016 album, Kinda like Electricity and rated it as one of the best albums of that year.
Last year, the South African group, who are currently based in Berlin released the follow up record, Lower. The 2018 album started out with some very strong songs but midway through it lost its impetus and I felt that it was not as good as Kinda like Electricity, which was that rare beast-an album without one bad track.
The band made up of Lucy Kruger and Andre Leo was formed in 2014 and are currently crowd funding a third full album (they produced an EP “More Knives” in 2014.)
Last week, they released the single, “A Mirror”, which features Leo on lead vocals. This new song is a return to form for the duo. In the past, the band have cited Howard S Rowland, the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Bad Seeds as their influences. The phrasing and menace in Leo’s voice during the opening verse of the song is reminiscent of Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes on Country Death Song.
The song is powered by a driving beat and explodes into a discordant climax that Warren Ellis would be proud of-one can almost picture Ellis twirling around the stage, violin under chin, all wild beard and flailing limbs as Leo sings over the feedback. The nod to the Bad Seeds doesn’t end there with the lyrics at one point referencing Nick Cave’s one-time lover, PJ Harvey.
This is a blistering return to form for Medicine boy who I feel are at the peak of their powers. The song is a reflection on the grand days of alternative rock. A Mirror sounds modern and urgent, the duo have dragged the best sounds of that genre into the 2000s, enveloped it in noise and have spat it out to a new, young audience.
Watch the video for A Mirror here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpYKAwn1p_U
If A Mirror portends the next album, then I think that Medicine boy are in for a treat. The band is currently touring Europe and will also return to South Africa for some gigs.
The band’s crowd funding page can be found here: