The Wave Room

Love Medicine

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Love Medicine is a pleasant, dreamy album, even if Hamish McKintosh doesn't innovate or settle on any one distinctive musical style. McKintosh sounds astonishingly like The The's Matt Johnson on at least half of the songs, and one gets the sense that Love Medicine is what The The would sound like if Matt Johnson gave up his edginess, studied Lloyd Cole's late-period pastoral charm, hired Brian Eno to add ambient swirl, and invoked a new age veneer. The album has a spacy feel built from electronic sound effects, perhaps too many drum machines, and delicate guitars and vocals. McKintosh's vocals veer toward pop, with touches of Enigma otherworldliness and Sinéad O'Connor world-weariness. "Manna" might be the album's pretty emotional peak, especially when McKintosh sings "tell your love to come running through my bones/tell your angels I'm ready for them now." Though some of the keyboard elements sound less lush than one would hope for on a number of the songs, the standouts outweigh the weaker tracks. He might not be able to decide if he wants to travel down paths similar to The The, the Lightning Seeds, or Roxy Music, but McKintosh proves to be a smart, talented songwriter. If a couple of the songs didn't sound like demos, the album would be more successful. Though its charms are many and varied, one gets the impression that the Wave Room will reach even higher in future endeavors.

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