After a few false starts and a few changes in personnel, Western Medicine’s (who we’ve covered here and here) debut EP In Transit is finally here. There’s a very mournful confidence that permeates the album, even on some of the more upbeat rockers, though not to the point of being oppressive. Even though the album ends far too quickly, there’s not a single misstep along the way, and the six-track EP works flawlessly as an impressive introduction to the group.
Album opener “Viking Funeral” takes its time to build, working a full third of the way through its runtime on the strength of Adam MacKinnon’s superb world-weary vocals and minimal guitars until the hammer drops and the song, keyboard freakouts and thundering drums alike, thunders to its conclusion. “In Transit” moves with a similar sense of purpose, even if it does sound like the weight of the world rests on its shoulders. “Belly of the Beast,” arguably the standout track of the album follows the Murder City Devils’ legacy of booze-drenched bar rock, complete with fuzzed out keys and backing vocal arrangements. The sound may be a little more restrained, but the spirit is certainly there.
In a perfect world, In Transit would be covered as widely and breathlessly as over-saturated acts like Yeasayer or Grimes or The Men. Music zines, online and in print, would follow through on their professed (implied and assumed, really) mission statement to discover and excitedly share new music instead of covering the same bands their peers have a dozen times over. Given the consolidation of coverage and need to compete for web traffic, this will probably never even out and so solid, legitimately great albums like In Transit will end up being marginalized ten times before they “break” even once, and that is a goddamned shame. This EP is great and deserves an audience.