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For Berlin duo Medicine Boy, their melancholic noise pop is less about all-out-noise than it is about exploring the spaces in-between. Grinding organs and soft desolate piano sink beneath waves of guitar that are at times gentle and drifting, at others feral and unforgiving. All the while, Lucy and Andre’s voices remain entwined and intimate – sometimes discordant, yet always heavenly. The result is a truly remarkable sound that sits somewhere between PJ Harvey, Mazzy Star and TJ&MC, yet exists in a sombre world of its own. Laying out their mantra, the band explain: “The joy of working with noise is that you can take something that appears to be quite sweet and simple and expose the sordid parts of it. Or celebrate the sublime in it. Ideally a bit of both.”
Originally hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, André Leo and Lucy Kruger founded the project back in 2014, self-releasing their debut EP to international appraise. By the time their debut full-length, Kinda Like Electricity, was released into the world their ever-growing fanbase had extended far beyond the confines of Africa, solidified further with two tours around Europe and the UK in 2015 and 2016.
Now residing in Berlin, Medicine Boy are gearing up for the release of their incredible second album Lower, due for release via London-based label Fuzz Club. Uncertainty, fragility and the unknown all sit at the heart of this record. Even when Medicine Boy are at their most delicate and beautiful, things constantly feel like they’re teetering on the edge, ready to collapse at any given moment. And, like the calm before the storm, often it does - veering unexpectedly into a whirlwind of buzzsaw guitars, primal percussion and snarling vocals. That same gloomy ethereality constantly floating close to the surface.
The band explain that this antagonistic relationship more than likely explains the aquatic theme through the album – ‘Bottom Of The Blue’ and ‘Water Girl’ being two stand-out tracks: “I don’t quite know why but the theme of water is all over this record. Something about the tranquillity and uncertainty, perhaps. The violence just beneath the surface. The potential for a sudden shift in tide.” With the relocation to Berlin and Fuzz Club signing, Lower marks an exciting new chapter in Medicine Boy’s story. From the beginning, this attempt to deconstruct our relationship with noise has been at the heart of the band but on this new effort, we see the band sounding better than ever, exploring that relationship even further and proving beyond any reasonable doubt why the band have been picking up such a buzz.
As the band themselves put it: “Lower is a myriad of introspection and interpretation. There are wider themes, stranger worlds and deeper wells than before. It is some kind of attempt to draw comfort (however twisted) and companionship (however tainted) from chaos and confusion. It's our attempt to find beauty in the underworld.”
1 Bottom Of The Blue
2 Water Girl
4 Yellow Eyed Radio Blues
5 For The Time Being
7 Hospital Floors
8 One Hundred Bodies
9 Lovely Heart