Science Secret StarsGET IT FROMDISCOGS!
Part of the appeal of Medicine Ball has always been the way the band plays together. They excel at taking seemingly disparate melodic fragments and weaving them into dense, sometimes complex songs that climb mountains before jumping off a cliff. They will not hit you over the head with a pop hook; that’d be too obvious. In fact, most of their songs tend to be opaque at first listen: mid-tempo, on the long side of four minutes and filled with guitars going in seemingly different directions. But if you pay attention, they will reward you with a dramatic ride. Medicine Ball is not always obvious about what they’re up to, sometimes they are content to sneak a little snippet into your head that will slowly gnaw at your subconscious until you wonder where it came from. That is the story with this album.
Sandwich Full of Lies, their debut, took the band to extremes in volume, tempo and frayed nerves. Science Secret Stars, the follow-up, takes a step back as the band has learned how to build the tension in an entirely different manner. Dialing back the volume a bit, the intricate guitar interplay, including bassist Mark Stone (who frequently takes the melodic lead), is further exposed enhancing the band’s dynamic range. It’s often easy to miss the fact that the guitars are kicking up a storm in the background until they subside for a chorus. A spacey recurring theme connects most of the album, causing the songs to flow together like a dream that takes occasional unexpected turns as the underlying intensity builds then finally ebbs away into electronic noise. Repeated listening will reveal many hidden treats.