Review: Dikembe, “Mediumship”

Posted 4 years ago by Joel Funk

For a long time, Dikembe was a band that I had listened to once or twice, but never really got into. Not without trying. I still have a copy of Broad Shoulders in my iTunes library that I’m not sure I’ve ever made it entirely through without switching to something else.

Since I was entirely too hellbent on getting into Dikembe, I checked out “Hood Rat Messiah” the second I saw the single was announced. On the first listen, I could already tell that this wasn’t the same band that recorded Broad Shoulders. Mediumship was going to bring an entirely new Dikembe to the table, and I couldn’t wait to see it come to life. This is Dikembe – they’re finally here.

Mediumship opens up with “Even Brother.” This is a track that could very easily be seen as prologue. The constant reference to the past, and the opening refrain of “It’s been a long time coming/I spent a long time rotting before I got going” seem to point in that direction. Either way, you definitely get the feeling that the guys in Dikembe are trying to communicate that Mediumship is the release they’ve been working up to. And you can hear it in the leaps and bounds that have been made musically between this release and Broad Shoulders.

The three singles: “Hood Rat Messiah”, “Snakes In My Path”, and “Gets Harder” work even better in the flow of the record than they do as singles. In context, it’s very easy to see why these were the three tracks given to us in preparation for the record. They each show us a big piece of what Dikembe is bringing to the table with this new release, and they do so with ease. This is a record that you have to listen too. It should be required. This is important.

If you want to hear just how far Dikembe have come since their last release, listen to “Pelican Fly.” This is a track that, while feeling right at home in the Emo category, would have no problem finding it’s way into the playlists of pure Alternative Rock lovers. The riff that starts the track off is incredible to listen to, and for whatever reason throws me right back into the late 90’s/early 00’s Alt. Rock that was always on in my dad’s car growing up. This could easily become one of my favorite songs period. Everytime I hear that riff and the lyrics that are equally as sad as they are scary, I get so psyched. It’s the same feeling I got when I heard Your Deep Rest for the first time. Is it possible to be in love with a song?

As far as that feeling of genre transcendence goes, the same thing can easily be said for “Las Vegas Weather.” I hope this is a song that ends up getting played at live shows, because I can already see it unfolding. The crawling build up into muffled screams. Kids are going to lose their minds once those last few lines start (I know I do). So, it would work perfectly as a set opener or closer. In fact, those are some of my favorite lyrics on the record.

Mad Frustrated” is a sweet spot – no question. The track starts off explosively and keeps that energy going for the majority of its duration; only taking a brief break to introduce the lyrics of the track. This has all the makings of a classic, and should hopefully become a staple at live shows. I know Dikembe isn’t one of the most frequently touring bands, but I can already see the crowds response to some of these songs.

Oh, and just in case I haven’t been obnoxious enough about it OR you didn’t believe me when I said that Mediumship is showing off an entire new Dikembe, click here to listen to the original version of “Donuts In A Six Speed” and then listen to the version on the record. Yeah. Exactly.

The record comes to a close with the roller coaster that is “Throw Lips.” The track crawls through the first minute and fifteen seconds and then throws you into one of my favorite moments on the album. When everything picks up and you hear the refrain of “I’ve been sinking the same skin that I floated in on/and drilling holes at the bottom to keep it underneath” everything becomes blissful. The vocal delivery is so sweet, I could honestly listen to it for days without complaint. It’s such a beautiful way to end the record. It’s one of the best they’ve written, and y’all need to hear it asap (Check out the stream of the record here if you haven’t already).

It’s not very often that I like to listen to an album front to back without skipping a single song. Hell, I can count those records on one hand. Those are some of my favorite records of all time, and Dikembe’s Mediumship has EASILY made it’s way onto that list. Please, please, please do yourself a favor and pick yourself up a copy of this record. You’ll regret it if you don’t. I promise.