Some days, it feels like Spotify is the only one who understands my taste in music (even despite my somewhat diverse taste). Pandora never really cut it; most of my friends listen to different styles. But Spotify really opens the door to lesser-known artists. While the “similar artists” list isn’t always perfect, the weekly recommendations usually prove fruitful.
Medic is a three piece indie-pop group from Denver, CO. and is just one of many great bands I’ve found from Spotify. Their sound is radio-friendly. Their songs are catchy. It’s hard to draw strong comparisons as they do deviate a bit from my usual playlists, but Olympia is definitely a strong album, with delicate piano, strings, falsetto, and even some groovier moments.
The album starts off with the experimental and quiet Giants (Intro), which the band described as a combination of two songs (or song pieces, at least). It definitely creates an interesting atmosphere, with spacey arpeggios and noisy ambient synths.
Its two immediate successors, Wake Me Up and If I Could Stay, are two of my personal favorites. The former leans more toward the alt-rock side but has an anthemic chorus. The latter is a bit reminiscent of Mew and features some really nice bass lines. The guitar during the chorus hearkens to Jenniferever.
Room to Run brings in analog synth elements, electronic percussion, funky guitar, and a progression that’s fascinating. There’s an eclectic blend of stylistic elements here that again remind me of Mew. It’s a great example of what the group is capable of. Ichabod, which comes two tracks later, shows a similar diversity and is also worth a listen.
On the percussive side, Electric Heart is definitely a highlight. Though a Phil Collins comparison wouldn’t be the most accurate, it definitely came to mind.
Though there are soft moments throughout the album, Rebuild is the only song that really feels like a ballad. It’s mostly piano-based but the ending builds, bringing in post-rock elements and string crescendos. It’s definitely lyrically-vulnerable, with the central line being, “When our world comes undone, we can rebuild.”
However, Medic is the kind of band to stay in one spot too long – Soldiers of Olympia (Wide Awake) is energetic and definitely one of the poppiest songs on the album. It’s upbeat, with a really interesting mix of sounds. It’s a good song, but there’s only so much ohhhhh vocal filler between verses that I can handle before it gets a bit old.
Capping off the album is Trees, a mostly-stripped down song. Naturally, the song builds and brings in additional elements. The lyrics touching on losing ourselves and becoming the least. The album ends on a strong note: “Would you take these words, even if they hurt? Make these dead bones live again. I will not bow to this, I will not be just another man that loses to my fears.”
Overall, the album is strong. There’s a nice mix of synth, bass, guitar, piano, and strings. Even the diversity within individual songs, like Ichabod and Room to Run, demonstrates a great degree of maturity in songwriting. Vocals are smooth and very fitting; lyrics range from poppy to spiritually-deep. There’s not much to fault, save that a few songs feel a bit weak or perhaps too radio-friendly. However, this three-piece certainly know how to craft a beautiful and diverse album.
Bonus: They’ve also released an instrumental version of Olympia, which you can find on most digital outlets.