Boomkat Product Review:
They weren’t as hip as The Au Pairs, The Higsons or the Factory-sponsored A Certain Ratio, but Nottingham quintet Medium Medium were still among the best of the myriad bands blending austere post-punk with funk during the early 80s.
"This lavishly-packaged triple LP reprises the cream of their catalogue, with both sides of the band’s hard-to-source 1979 debut Them Or Me/Freeze showcased alongside the Adrian Sherwood-produced 7” version of their signature song Hungry, So Angry plus all three tracks from the mainstream-inclined 1982 EP Splendid Isolation.
The main attraction, though, is surely the band’s lone LP, The Glitterhouse. Originally issued by Cherry Red in 1981, it encompasses everything from the tense, dub-filigreed Serbian Village to the sweaty, club-friendly Mice Or Monsters and the jagged, James Chance-esque Further Than Funkdream and it remains a stark and highly compelling listen.
Medium Medium attracted an enviable ream of positive press, but they struggled commercially and by 1983 they were history. However, they’ve regrouped sporadically since they were cited as an influence by early 00s punk-funk practitioners including The Rapture and Radio 4 and this set’s inclusion of three edgy, previously unreleased tracks from a 2008 studio session shows that they’ve retained a contemporary relevance.”
Medium Medium’s debut album, The Glitterhouse, was originally released on Cherry Red in October 1981. This reissue also features the “Hungry, So Angry,” single version which was produced by Adrian Sherwood at Berry Street Studio in London.
In Sound International magazine Dave Henderson wrote prophetically, “It could be one of the most important records of the type to emerge this year and will doubtlessly be revered as a classic after the group have long since departed.”
Also included is a selection of tracks from Cherry Red’s 2001 Hungry, So Angry retrospective compilation album, the B-side of the band’s debut single on Apt and a previously unreleased demo version of a song from the 1982 Sound-Products EP. It includes a bonus EP featuring previously unreleased tracks from the 2008 Village recording session. All of the various lineups of Medium Medium are represented.
Formed at the end of 1978 Medium Medium’s self-described “extreme dance music” had reviewers scrambling to draw comparisons with the band’s contemporaries and find a label for its post punk sound.
Medium Medium’s solid dance rhythms and chaotic, chiming guitar were superficially reminiscent of the Gang of Four and Talking Heads, but Rees’s tangential sax playing and Graham’s tape and keyboard interjections from the front-of-house mixing desk took Medium Medium in another direction.
“Free-blown dubbed-up white funk” was how Max Bell described the sound in England’s New Musical Express (NME). “At the forefront of the post punk funk movement,” raved Cashbox in the U.S. Billboard magazine opined that this was “post punk and post disco dance music.”