Pop Levi - Medicine - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Pop Levi - Medicine

by Miz DeShannon Rating:8 Release Date:2012-11-12

Sounding like he looks most of the time, Pop Levi has thrown everything at the wall with his latest album, Medicine. Claiming the album was recorded in another dimension during time in an isolation tank, or maybe even not by himself but another version of himself, his persona has a definite air of Acid Mothers Temple-ness these days, and the idea that everything is an other-wordly space-oddity.

Oddities aside, this album is pretty great. He's still channelling the Prince-meets-T Rex thing he had going on during The Return to Form Black Magik Party years, with some heavy electro-overlays and hardcore techno vibes, beginning with 'Strawberry Shake' which starts, unsurprisingly, with a scream. Just to get you on the right wavelength as soon as possible. There are all sorts going on in this track, with a beat like 'Hey Mickey' and a deep synth bassline to off-set the nicely auto-tuned female vocals. It's a fine opening track. The heavy glam rock arrives in 'Motorcycle 666', Levi sounding like he's had a load of helium, and 'Police $IGN', which could easily be a left-over track from his debut album, since it sounds just like 'Sugar Assault Me Now'.

Levi is very good at layering his eclectic tastes and ideas into a final mix which blatantly shows off many influences with a flourish of excitement and pure individuality. Witness the contrasts between twee melodic vocals and grungy sounds, for instance, on 'Coming Down' or 'Rock Solid', a perfect '70s T Rex track with the right tempo, fuzzy bass and squeaky warblings. 'Medicine' could easily be a track from a Pond album. In fact, it's not the only track on the album with a ridiculously heavy, down-tuned bassline, squealy crazy pop with rock-out riffs - fantastic. More please.

To show he's not a one-trick pony, 'Bye-Byes' gets all dreamy and folky with acoustic guitar and romantic lyrics. It's a bit John Lennon - must be all that time Levi spent in Liverpool rubbing off. It's nicely slow-paced, with more of a mature sexy feel to it than the usual frantic-ness, which comes out again on 'Terrifying', still with the signature fuzz-bass. The Ladytron years show through on 'Midnite Runaround' and 'Records'. Slightly weaker and more elctro-driven, they do stick out as just not quite as exciting, sadly.

Obviously, it's the glam rock that makes what Levi does really work, and to make everything glitzy and fantastic again, 'Remember Remember' is so Prince-esque it hurts, but in a good way, a very good way. Eat your heart out 'Let's Go Crazy' - the guitar hook on this is to die for. Well, if you like prancing about to Prince that is.

The melodic 'You Understand' closes this album. It's a bit of a quieter one, and maybe an odd choice to finish with. It just doesn't seem as exciting as it's predecessor. Regardless, this is a pretty great album. Levi as a character typifies all those crazy rock stars. It's an unusual thing these days, to find someone so willing to push boundaries and be a bit odd, but he is a Brummie, and they've always had a reputation for making some ground-breaking rock.

And the music is as odd as he is. Full of contrasts and contradictions, it's pop-glam-electro-psych, and it's not something that the NME likes, surprise surprise. Who is it for? What does it mean? Does that really matter? It's all from another dimension, remember.

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I love prancing about to Prince!

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