Back in 2007/08, Mika and Pop Levi brought welcome injections of camp, glam-pop fun back into the foreground. Dressing up, being silly in videos, and delivering hand-clap and often ironically enjoyable songs were their hallmarks.
Unfortunately, after Levi's Never Never Love album the puff went out. You'd hope this new one would put breeze back in the sails of his heavily borrowed styles. It does and it doesn't, because here he takes his T. Rex influence of pixie-pop and inane lyrics ("She's an instigator, another double trouble traitor" on Police Sign) then turns the fuzzed-up metal-edge guitars to 11 for noisy pop which sounds aimed at a big room and, in places, like it's been recorded in one.
The nail-gun beats in the openers (the Prince-to-Bolan Strawberry Shake, Motorcycle 666 and Rock Solid, all obvious clue-giving titles) echo heavily and the cavernous sound is often too affected to create any emotional engagement. It's one-time fun, which on repeat play sounds calculated for short-term effect. Better comes on the less frantic, romantic and deliberately infantile pop of Bye-Byes (anyone else remember Aussie MOR star Peter Blakeley?).
But mostly this is disappointing and desperate to please.
Verdict: Retro dance-rock which doesn't connect head, heart and feet
Click here to buy a copy of Medicine
- TimeOut / Elsewhere.co.nz