Medium Medium: from punk to funk
17th November 2016
Title: The Glitterhouse
Label: Optic Nerve
You may not be too aware of this band (who began as the Press in 1979) but it was part of the essential evolution (like The Gang of Four) in transforming music from a state of post punk to new wave and back again. In fact, The Gang of Four, although not in the same political direction, is a useful comparison to make . There was a real funk edge to this band that emerged easily from the front of house bass lines with edgy lyric delivery that gave the songs a touch of the raw. That often wailing sax gives the output a harsh severity that contrasts with the obvious and warming bass guitar.
This album was the band’s debut, released in 1981, featuring the single, Hungry, So Angry, produced by Adrian Sherwood.
Singer/saxophonist John Lewis quit at the end of 1981 after their first American tour. The band struggled on for a little while, collapsing totally in 1983 while Lewis created music as part of C Cat Trance.
The style offers a stubborn insolence that is slightly reminiscent of a younger Talking Heads. You can sometimes imagine a young David Byrne just standing there…challenging. This album offers a similar feel, a similar mood. Medium Medium also add an often lazy beat to their longer song productions that meander around cutting lyrics. On such songs, such as Guru Maharaj Ji, there is almost ‘off their heads’ quality about the arrangement. A drug-like state that is almost directionless yet, at the same time, sharp and unpredictable.
This edition includes rarities such as a bonus EP including previous unreleased tracks from the 2008 Village recording session, the B-side of the bands debut single on Apt and a previously unreleased version of a song from the 1982 Sound-Products EP.