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Medium 21 | Killings From The Dial (Temptation Records)
Well, this is something I never would have foreseen. I mean, really, how bad a name is 'Medium 21'? It's awful. Bands with numbers are almost always awful (apart from Five - the band from the US that is - and they're not even called Five anymore). Amazingly though, Medium 21 aren't awful. They're not even average - they're brilliant. Imagine Coldplay if they listened to more records by The Appleseed Cast or The Last Days Of April. Sounds pretty good, right? Medium 21 sound like Coldplay, or Doves, or Elbow (or any of those bands that you almost like but dare not admit to liking in front of your cool friends) on a healthy diet of US emotion-stained indie (think the Deep Elm roster, like Brandston and the 'Mare Vitalis' era of the aforementioned Appleseed Cast), and subsequently they sound great. If they were brethren of the UK's 'finest' offerings, they'd be the bad seed - the cool kid that stood out from the clones, the one that took the most risks, recklessly towing the line between obscurity and success. Medium 21 can't realistically hope to emulate the achievements of Coldplay et al, but with songs like 'Junctions in our Sleep', 'Black and White Summer', and the achingly beautiful 'Albert Ross', they can draw real tears from statues of the hardest stone. Add to this the band's playful nature, displayed in 'Acting Like a Mirror', and you have the makings of a record that does more than surprise - it astounds. Leave your preconceptions at the door, and take 'Killings From The Dial' to your heart.

Mike Diver
January-February 2003

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