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London Shepherd's Bush Empire

If [a]Dustball[/a] are all stolen kisses and shagging in the streets, [a]Medal[/a] are the postcoital spliff comedown...

Talk about beauty and the beast, Dustball are both. Singer Jamie Stuart looks like a worryingly underfed David Beckham, with that same mix of elegance and petulance about him. One moment his voice is threatening to crack with emotion as the band shimmy through 'Starting', the next he's breaking strings and ripping his knuckles to shreds on the Panzer charge of 'Owe It All'.



The spirit of The Undertones infused with DC hardcore dynamics and Television's subtly warped fretplay, Dustball throw out sweet curve balls like 'Play At Work', but there's a belligerent hormonal anger behind everything they do. If they weren't so pale and skinny, they'd be terrifying.



If Dustball are all stolen kisses and shagging in the streets, Medal are the postcoital spliff comedown. Or maybe a new wave of hippy rock. They're a sullen psychedelic drift through the dark atmospherics of The Doors and hymnal histrionics of Pink Floyd.



Richard Brinklow's crushing organ swells dominate their sound and you wonder whether they're trying to hide a lack of songs under a welter of oceanic noise, but as new single 'Possibility' rises from inconsequential Verve steal into something almost majestic you realise there's plenty going on beneath the surface of these urbane hymns. Like Ultrasound, Medal want to make the biggest sound in the universe. The only risk is they might crush themselves in the process.

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