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culture

Sound Advice: Medallions by Medallions

The dream of '90s power pop is alive on Medallions' new EP.

Local quartet Medallions are either making an intentional attempt to ride the current wave of ’90s nostalgia, or else they just listened to a ton of CFNY when they were growing up. On their new, self-titled EP, they manage to be poppy and catchy while simultaneously maintaining a vague aura of gloom. The sound is oddly reminiscent of bands like Velocity Girl, Teenage Fanclub, and Smeared-era Sloan.

“Other Lovers” is a bouncy, high-speed number whose quick pace and catchy, sticky riffs contrast nicely with slightly sad vocals and angsty lyrics, while “I Have Thoughts of Friends” is built around a classic, simple singalong chorus that will get stuck in your head for days. (You can listen to “I Have Thoughts of Friends” by clicking on the sample above.) On “Knock It Down,” the melancholy turns to simmering rage. The vocals are delivered with a sneer while a menacing bass riff lurks in the background. “Cut a Stone” is probably the most outright cheerful song on the record. The insistent drums and rolling guitar chords force you to bob your head and dance a little, even if you don’t want to.

Things really start to get interesting on the EP’s two slower songs, “Baby Teeth” and “Dressed Like a Thief.” Guitarist Scott Kaija and drummer Mick Jackson split vocal duties for Medallions. “Baby Teeth” uses this two-singer structure to maximum effect, with Jackson and Kaija working together to create a heavily layered chorus. “Dressed Like a Thief,” meanwhile, starts out soft and unassuming before building to a big, anthemic, distortion-heavy guitar solo.

Medallions do a great job of harkening back to a simpler time—when cell phones were for rich people and high-speed internet meant a 56k modem—without being derivative. That’s not easy. That they’re able to pull it off bodes well for the band’s future.

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