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Album review: (the)medicine theory - What the Fuck Are You Lookin' At

Album review: (the)medicine theory - What the Fuck Are You Lookin' At

If you haven’t seen (the)medicine theory recently, or at all, here’s a quick primer: for quite some time, this experimental noise-rock band played upon a well-earned reputation for scaring the bejeezus out of unsuspecting audiences with their hyper-aggressive and antagonistic approach to music, daring those in attendance to endure their onslaught (a challenge this reviewer is proud to say he completed on more than one occasion). With the release of their new EP, What The Fuck Are You Lookin At, Jeff Irvine and Tyson Schroeder are still trying to take control of your soul, but their approach has taken a 180-degree turn: they now do so with subtlety rather than sledgehammer blows… vocal distortion rather than primal screams… assimilation rather than terrorization.

WTFAYLA offers music that is industrial, futuristic, and robotic—all of which are highlighted in the opening track, “The Fall": 87 seconds of the sounds of war being waged in the listener's mind by battle machines of great menace. The next song, “I Killed Amanda,” is the most up-tempo of the EP; this and a brief section toward the end of "Summer" are the only hints at the previous intensity and fury of (the)medicine theory. WTFAYLA contains seven tracks and clocks in at a bit more than twenty minutes, seven-and-a-half of which comprise “Wash," which is a brilliant demonstration of the sinister slow-burn. Area haunted house mainstay The Edge of Hell would be well-advised to license this track and play it on an unending loop.

The album closes with another sub-two-minute experience, “Stair Chase." After lighting a cigarette, Schroeder walks into a stream-of-consciousness monologue which one would picture Professor Stephen Hawking delivering after being fed a steady diet of Bauhaus and Kerouac. The oration of the lyrics and the sound of a piano being played in every non-traditional way you can imagine battle for the attention of the listener until the very end, concluding with the words “and then he tore apart my throat” …

… and (the) silence is deafening.

(the)medicine theory is currently working on Versificator, its new album, and will be taking a short hiatus from playing shows for a bit. For now, check out the current album on Bandcamp.

--Michael Byars

Michael is the host of The Mailbox, a weekly podcast that offers new music, concert info and news about the Kansas City area and more. In his spare time you might find him looking for some good live music, particularly at a certain bar that has lots of records. 

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