Medusa’s Disco Goes Acoustic: No No No Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah!
Maybe you’re old enough or maybe you saw it on YouTube. Once upon a time MTV played music videos and even hosted a performance series called “Unplugged.” When grunge rockers Nirvana made their “Unplugged” appearance, lots of people were skeptical…for about half a song. Somehow the raw, painful beauty of their songs still bored into your heart even though they weren’t blasting your ears.
Such is the trick pulled here by Medusa’s Disco on Fruit From a Timeless Planet, their 2016 acoustic release. The songs still feel like voices in your head. They muse on disregard and despair. The boys still ask big questions about the state of the world, time and space. The screams and roars have become wails and whispers, calling you to consciousness like some lost band of monks chanting and tripping on Ibogaine. They pick a line, repeat it, harmonize it and build it up until you’re breathing it as much as hearing it. “Around here…it’s all so simple…it’s not so simple…no, no, no yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah!” from “Ask the Bird” will have you winking and flying off in one verse.
The intricate rhythms and melodies lend this acoustic set a progressive sensibility. They don’t have the organs and synthesizers of 70’s era ELP or Yes but they do have ecstatic sitar and violin. Does anything sound more psychedelic and other-worldly than a sitar? For a young player, Wynton Huddle has a sensual hug on that thing. And Robin Chambers on violin has long been recognized as a portal to another world. She’s a special addition to the acoustic edition of MD. Bees, butterflies and buzzards live in her bow. Alex Aument on percussion shows a deft touch that belies his years of Muppet-Animal-like explosive nature on drums. Ty Smith seems freed by going acoustic and styling more on his bass.
The human voice, of course, is the ultimate acoustic instrument. Hunter Root and Wynton wield their voices like Jedi’s. You hear and feel every swing of their vocal pipes. Wails and whispers, screams and roars, mind tricks: they capture your senses and your imagination. They are vocal pyres that throw a lot of heat.
There’s a complexity and depth to the music beyond the expectations of “…X rock band makes an acoustic album.” And even with all the bemoaning of lies, liars and promises not kept, they still see promise in the world and reasons to pursue curiosity and enlightenment. “Don’t wait ‘til you die…to become Divine.” That is some nourishing Fruit From a Timeless Planet.