Album Review: Medication's 'This Town'
A new crop of precocious guitar-wielding lads is sprouting through the cracks in the music sidewalk. Defined by intensely personal artistic visions and breakneck work ethics, these passionate musicians, like the late Jay Reatard, seem almost compulsively driven to record and release records for almost any label that will have them, often on primitive lo-fi equipment in their own bedrooms. Among their ranks is the talented Jeffrey Novak of garage punk act Cheap Time, nouveau psychedelic tunesmith Ty Segall and the now folk-driven one-man band Medication.
Written, played and recorded to four-track entirely by Mikey Hyde, a young man from Milford, Conn., Medication’s debut long player, “This Town,” is one of the latest releases from the Windy City’s HoZac Records, which has made a specialty of promoting iconoclastic and raw garage rock acts. Playing like a somber walk through desolate winter streets, “This Town” reverberates with a brittle loneliness and melancholy that is counterbalanced by the raw emotion that informs Hyde’s painfully honest lyrics and minimalist song structures.
Themes of loss, betrayal and sadness swirl freely in the album’s 10 songs. Highlights include the jangly, echoing “Your Heart,” the plaintive tearjerker “Don’t Die” and the six-plus-minute “Farewell Letter.” The tones might be dark grays and browns, but there’s a lyrical and energetic life in the grooves of this record. This is only Medication’s second release (the first being a seven-inch, also from HoZac), but expect great things from Hyde. He already has broadened his one-man act to include a full band and recently completed an East Coast tour with melodic neo-folk act the Dutchess and the Duke.
-- Jason Gelt
Four stars (Out of four)