Into Music Album Review: The Media Whores – A Light In A Dark Place
Artist: The Media Whores
Album: A Light In A Dark Place
Label: Twenty Stone Blatt Records
With three albums behind them already and the magnificent compilation A Decade Of Defiance to boot, the fourth studio release from the Mercury Music Award nominated post-punk outfit The Media Whores is one of the most hotly anticipated records of 2021.
The good news is that it doesn’t disappoint, in fact it’s evidently the Falkirk-based band’s most accomplished recording to date. Known for their incendiary live shows, socio-economic and politically observational lyrics, there was a question mark whether that raw energy and sound would be retained in the studio environment and the finished product. Recorded at Bad Cat Studios in West Lothian and mixed by Mark Thorburn and the band’s bassist Doogie Mackie, the sound positively pumps out, a pugilistic knock-out that packs a punch and doesn’t let up from the get-go.
Talking about live shows (remember them?), The Media Whores play Vibrations Festival, Falkirk, on 4 September 2021 and later that month on the 25th with XSLF at Anchor Rocks, Stirling, before a date with Spizzenergi at Bannermans, Edinburgh, on 2 October 2021. With no live music for the past year and a half or so, get yourself along if you can to at least one of these dates. You’ll be glad you did.
But back to the album, it’s split into Act I and Act II with the CD benefiting from a bonus epilog track (Albert Finney) which isn’t on the vinyl release.
Act I kicks off with a track which is already a staple of their live set, Big Pharma, a chunk of punk dominated by a towering and piercing siren-esque guitar. The lyrics, as you’d expect are hard hitting, focusing on a Mr Kline and the bottom line profits of the big pharmaceutical companies. Singer Craig musing that “a patient cured is a customer lost“.
Las Vegas Of The North centres around Blackpool, perhaps the hopelessness of the whole set up and how its clientele are viewed. Lead guitarist Chris takes centre stage, the band tight with drums from Andy Russell keeping the track ticking over.
Consumerism Is King is a track for the times, the banality of shopping, special offers and the desire to be something or something else. The band have a clear sense of what the actual f##k is going on when others have their head buried in the sand or are just ambivalent to what the hell is going on around them. We need bands and artists like The Media Whores now more than ever.
Over on Act II, Is The Cold War Getting Warmer doesn’t miss its targets including media manipulation, back-handers, war, oil money, property deals and the lack of trickle down effect to ordinary people.
It’s nigh on impossible to pick a stand out track but Sufferers is particularly hard-hitting lyrically, touching on how fascism starts and grows, those in ivory towers complaining, blaming others and spreading their right wing rhetoric. The tune also benefits from a Stranglers type melody, one I’m looking forward to hearing played live in the not too distant future.
Money highlights the absurdity of making stupid people famous and observes it makes people fall out and that there isn’t enough to go round (there is, that’s the point).
A Light In A Dark Place perfectly captures the essence of The Media Whores, this should be an essential purchase for anyone who wants music that challenges and questions the mainstream whilst retaining an independent and passionate intensity to their art.
The CD is out now with vinyl coming later in the year – visit the Bandcamp page here to buy it.