Review Summary: South African duo rides on the rollercoaster that is life with its somber voices, noises, images and words.
The most alluring trait of youth, is its ever present and fluid sense of eternity, the certified illusion that life in excess of physical and mental ability/prosperity, will escape decay. Still wet behind the ears, and discretely below a parental, lidless eye, offsprings are thrown into the sea of possibilities, so as to adapt to the emotional and physical ecosystems awaiting ahead. The waters are ocean deep and turbulent; however, each prospect is unconsciously prompted to search for warmer waters, a safe harbour, and eventually tread the land its parents came from, carrying inherent and acquired strengths, good friends, romantic companions, and the ever precious memories from the sea travels past. As time goes by, and mind is constantly being filled with all sorts of input, both increasingly tend to play weird games. What was once reality, is simply no more, or is it the other way around? Personal demons and tragedies, summoned to lessen or be put in the rear, are always at reach. Strengths of old are either diminished or inherited to the new breed. On their debut album, South Africans Medicine Boy, ride on the rollercoaster that is life with their somber voices, noises, images and words.
Everything in Kinda Like Electricity
orbits around the hauntingly soothing, vocal duality of its members, Lucy Kruger & Andre Leo, a composite instrument to echoe what was mentioned in the previous passage. That said, South Africans have not painted a flamboyant, shamelessly pompous canvas. Rather, Medicine Boy belong to an obscure cluster of outfits, who takes what is needed from an ensemble of music genres, and forms a style that barely references its constituents. In that respect, Kinda Like Electricity
tip toes as quietly as it can, in fear of greedily invoking for folk, country, the blues, goth, and psych/post-punk elements. The tone of the album is calm, with tunes that warmly coat the senses, namely the laid-back psych/rock n' roll of "Alone", the album title track, "Lucy", or the dim lighted album closer "The End of the Day". At instances, though, an alarming vibe is transmitted; in "Lashes", its dynamics are escalating to subterranean rumbles between the frantic violin heard in the rear, the quietly firm rhythm section, and the latent guitar distortion. On another note, "You Are An Animal Now" is a call to the dance pit, the way goth/post-punksters would go for it.
With their debut full-length album, Medicine Boy have added more weight to the already legitimate pledge of their 2014 EP. Its thick sound texture resembles that of works in which a respectable recording budget was spent, and yet it was produced the DIY way. Up the same alley, with the custom length of each song and the album's coherence throughout, Medicine Boy move towards a personal (as possible) conduct, which discards established promotion mechanisms, in this case, radio edit singles. Rather, duo prefers to expand through word of mouth, which has already got it where it wanted to go since day one, the road and quite a few concerts in South Africa and abroad. So, if you want it darker (RIP Leonard Cohen), Medicine Boy are one of the safest new bets out there.