Mandrake Memorial's sound didn't change that much between their first and second album, but Medium is definitely a letdown after their fine self-titled debut. Although it retained the solemn vocals and classical-tinged electronic keyboards, as well as some jazz and Indian influences, there was a drift toward a harder rock sound and longer, more meandering songs. It's the compositions that drag the record down the most, as they aren't nearly as tuneful or concise as those on their first release. Too, while much of the material on the first album had a buoyant, soaring quality, there was a bit of a somber, bummed-out feeling on this one, as if the musicians were in regretful repose from exultant flight. The comparison might seem strange, but at times it sounded like the Youngbloods might have if they'd taken their jazzier and more experimental tendencies to more self-consciously progressive ends. There was less emphasis on harmony vocals this time around, too, and Randy Monaco's vocals had a sorrowful quality that sometimes recalled those of Lawrence Hammond from the barely-better-known-than-Mandrake Memorial band Mad River, though Monaco wasn't quite as doleful. All these criticisms make the album seem worse than it was: there's some interesting psychedelic interplay between guitar, keyboard, and vocals, and it's not unpleasant. But it doesn't go anywhere particularly exciting, either.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger