D.C. musicians are eternally doomed to be judged based on their former bands. No review of the Evens’ album didn’t mention Fugazi. Nothing J. Robbins has ever done will ever avoid comparison to Jawbox. Likewise, Chad Molter and Devin Ocampo probably won’t be able to escape having their new band, Medications, receive any press without mention of their former band, Faraquet. The post-hardcore apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, in most cases, thereby justifying the comparisons. But in the case of Medications, it really is almost the same band, as only one member was replaced.
As two-thirds of Faraquet, Molter and Ocampo played a technical, mathematical brand of rock that was as much influenced by King Crimson as Fugazi. And upon listening to Medications’ debut full-length, Your Favorite People All in One Place, it seems as if not much has changed. The precision may have been dulled a bit in favor of a more intense rock bombast, but the songwriting remains on a line between abrasive indie rock and prog.
Many of the songs on People stretch well beyond accepted radio single length into previously unheard of levels of punk rock majesty. Many of these songs are might epics, like a Zeppelin or Floyd for the vegan bicycle courier crowd. After two minutes of feedback and buildup, “Surprise!” bleeds into a subtly powerful punk rock anthem. “Twins Time” is more directly aggressive, as drum fills are at full speed and Ocampo’s guitar seems to be working overtime. “This Is The Part We Laugh About” is more melodic, however, with a slower beat and a haunting keyboard open up the song into a mid-tempo track, seemingly custom-made for radio play, despite the fact that it may never make it there.
What’s particularly interesting about Your Favorite People All in One Place is how much better it gets with repeated listens. That isn’t meant to be a backhanded compliment by any means. It really isn’t the most accessible album on first listen, but, rather, slowly sinks its way into the darker recesses of the brain, meanwhile chipping away at your ear drums until you hear it reverberating over and over in your ear canal. Soon, all you’ll be able to hear is the waltzing destruction of “Magazines for Entertainment,” but you won’t care, because you’ve been seduced by its sinister yet intelligent R-O-C-K.
Medications carry a lot of Faraquet’s songwriting traits, which could only be expected from a band featuring 66.6% of its members. Yet, instead of dwelling on the technical or the abrasive, Medications have honed in on the more melodic aspects, pushing them forward, while still maintaining the former band’s sense of technique. Your Favorite People All in One Place is exciting and new all the same, and will win you over. There’s no point in fighting it.
Unwound – Challenge for a Civilized Society
Faraquet – The View From This Tower
Shudder to Think – Pony Express Record
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.