Pop Levi is, according to himself, not of this earth or at least not of this dimension. In the press release for the Liverpool multi-instrumentalist’s third LP, Medicine, he explains that his latest effort was “recorded by a different version of me in another dimension, then transmitted to this version of me during prolonged isolation tank sessions.” I’ll stop here for a moment to give you a chance roll your eyes – ready to continue? Okay. The album delves into glam rock, electro funk, and the self-labeled “future rock,” a genre label that means exactly nothing, and winds up sounding like that annoying kid at the party who hijacks the turntables to show off his severely lacking DJ skills.
It’s a shame too, because underneath all the migraine-inducing glitches and loops, you can actually tell that Levi has some genuine musical chops. On lead single “Strawberry Shake”, his razor sharp, high-pitched voice is equal parts Bowie and heavy metal, but the song leaves you feeling downright exhausted after two noisy breakdowns posing as a chorus. Elsewhere, riffs dripping with the sweat of Marc Bolan circa 1971 get completely deflated by idiotic lyrics like “And it was happenstance / got me caught without my pants” (“Police $ign”), or “It was 17 minutes to five / I’m the only motherfucker alive” (“Midnite Runaround”).
In terms of hapless electronic fiddling, the album does let up towards its later half, but by the time you get to the subtle “Bye-Byes” or the Jack White by-way-of Scissor Sisters “Terrifying”, the taste of the preceding tracks rots these possibly enjoyable flavors. Despite the occasional glimpse of colorful ingenuity, Medicine is an utterly sour experience.
Essential Tracks: N/A