Trying to find any information on Stratford, Ontario’s Mediumship pulls up an impressive number of hits about something else entirely. Then again, their first and only album just came out at the beginning of the month, which might explain why there are more psychics than rock hits in their results.
Don’t let the winter release date and aura of mystery fool you though—Mediumship’s self-titled debut is packed with summer sounds, offsetting bleak lyrics like “Nothing really matters/much anymore.” It’s all in line with opener “Casual Misanthrope” on an album teeming with poppy beats and downtrodden thoughts. Notes chime against each other as the drums bounce and bassist Nik Howley churns out melancholic lyrics with an unshakeable calm that juts up deliciously against Myles Avigdor’s keys (and shared vocals).
“Pearl” is an infectious number as sharp chords create their own rhythm and break, ever so slightly, from the gloomy vocals that are the album’s staple. “Situational Depression” is an all-too familiar situation for any student—contrasting with a rising chorus that belies a sense of hope not quite matched by the heartbroken lyrics, “She’s been keeping me awake/Like caffeine in my brain.”
“Snow in April” eases into “July (TJ)” and a sound reminiscent of the old Tegan and Sara throws itself fully into a warmer month (that starts to feel much too far away as the chorus kicks in). There’s a hard come down for “On Resolve” as it loses some of the energy and allure and settles into a mellow acoustic number that gives up the band’s original sounds.
“& Roses” might still be a slow song, but Mediumship’s character finds its way back into the lyrics as it captures a day in the life and pairs it with an intimate hand clap/foot stop that relies more on southern Ontario charm than gimmick—ending the album on a refreshingly personal note.
Top Tracks: “Pearl”; “& Roses”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)