Medicine album ‘Shot Forth Still Living’ still has buzz

Over the years, particularly when I look back at the 1990s, there were many, many albums that I wanted to buy but never did.

One of those albums was Medicine’s album Shot Forth Self Living. That album was released on Sept. 22, 1992, on Def American.

I had initially read the review in Metal Maniacs magazine. They advised that it wasn’t heavy metal but still recommended it for the most open-minded metalheads. This was not unusual for the magazine, considering they had featured the likes of the Beastie Boys prior to this.

Anyway, I forgot the reviewer’s name, but their tastes usually aligned with mine so I made a mental note to keep an eye out for it.

Never found Shot Forth Self Living on the shelf when we journeyed out to the bigger towns to do CD and book buying.

So, 25 years later my memory was jarred to listen to this album, thanks to hearing what is probably their best known song “Time Baby III” from The Crow soundtrack.

That song isn’t on this album and that’s just fine. Shot Forth Self Living stands just fine on its own without any hit singles.

When you listen, you’ll be hit by a wall of noise, which can be kind of off putting at first. There’s lots of feedback, buzzing and static which come to the forefront. If you’re listening for the first time, I’ll advise that you not have your headphones up way loud. You’ll regret it. It’s something you should ease into as a fresh listener.

The noise is central to Medicine’s sound and once you get over the initial shock, you’ll find that it’s an integral part of the sound.

The first, and longest song, “One More,” gives you a good sense what Medicine is about. This song is both ethereal and harsh. Two contradicting sounds that the band succeeds in balancing most of the time.

Things hit their groove really quick as the second song, “Aruca,” picks up the pace. It actually sounds kind of like a Garbage song musically, but two years before that band released their first album. One has to wonder if the musicians in Garbage had a copy of Shot Forth Self Living themselves.

Defective” kicks off with the most memorable melody on the album. Despite the name, which you would think would mean a dark and slow song, “Defective” is rather fast paced and upbeat, at least in its sound.

Things slow down again with “A Short Happy Life” and “5ive” before “Sweet Explosion” picks things up again with bassist Eddie Ruscha really shining as he comes to the forefront of this song.

Queen of Tension” is probably the wildest song on the album. It starts off as the slowest and builds up speed as it moves along, ending to the sound of what I believe to be crickets chirping.

Things wind down with the last two songs “Miss Drugstore” and “The Christmas Song.” “The Christmas Song” is probably the largest song on the album as far as sound, with lots of texture and layers for your ear to shuffle through, giving the album a satisfying conclusion.

The performances on this album are great all around. Beth Thompson particularly stands out for her airy vocals, which somehow don’t get drowned out by all the noise. Multi-instrumentalist and male vocalist Brad Laner also deserves some credit here for his song writing and somehow making this noise sound like music.

I recommend you get your hands on this album as soon as you can. Don’t be like me and wait 25 years. You’ll be missing out.

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