Oxford's Medal have never been looked upon particularly fondly in the music press. Their debut album, the brooding Drop Your Weapon was slated despite delivering some truly epic work in the shape of 'Up Here For Hours' and 'Possibility. Having been dropped by Polydor, the band seeked to set up their own new label El Producto and start a fresh.
Sadly the results are not going to do Medal any favours. Stuntman barely touches 'Drop Your Weapon' and so we are left with a very weak album, lacking any assured direction.
The set up of Medal is typical, with guitars, bass, vocals, drums and keyboards. The sound, unfortunately is also typical of such a set up, only decidedly weaker than any of their peers. In terms of vocals, Medal have attempted some form of spoken word, but Aiden Moffat need not worry just yet (as if he gives a shit anyway) for Medal far outdo themselves when they choose a typical guitar based, emotive filler. Such a song, and perhaps highlight of the album is infact last single, 'Stuntman' which cascades into a dark and haunting tune, with some touching lyrics, You're someone new you feel it too/and shine and i promise to you/that i'm feeling that way now all sung with feeling, but when the rest of the album floats by with little to comment on, it becomes lost in the depths of humility.
To give them credit, at times Medal take the instrumental and vaguely psychadelic root, where the songs build into a frenzy of keyboards and aching guitars, but such notions are few and far between.
It is a shame, for if you were a fan of 'Drop Your Weapon' you can only be disappointed by this follow up.
Definitely a grower, but don't expect miracles, Medal are (sadly) on their way down and out.
6Jon Lawrence's Score