With so many of Washington D.C.’s bands broken up or on hiatus, the sound of the hallowed post-punk scene and Dischord, the label at its center, has all but disappeared from the national consciousness. Medications offered the best chance of carrying that legacy into the new millennium with its 2004 five-song EP and its 2005 full-length debut, Your Favorite People All In One Place. Its members certainly had the bona fides: Devin Ocampo did time in Smart Went Crazy and Beauty Pill (among others), and Chad Molter played in Faraquet. That band’s sound heavily informed Favorite People, which crafted tightly wound songs around noodly, punk-derived guitar that locked in with Medication’s ace rhythm section.
The long-gestating Completely Removed builds atop its predecessor, but with a more pronounced focus on pop melodies, particularly in the interplay of Ocampo and Molter’s voices. Completely Removed operates on two planes simultaneously: off-kilter D.C.-style post-punk instrumentally, then straight-up pop melodicism vocally. It isn’t that black and white—the music is definitely melodic—but Medications pull off a tricky, highly enjoyable balancing act. (They also throw a big curveball with the instrumental “Kilometers And Smiles,” which splits its time between funky blaxploitation score and Beatles-esque cooing.) With Completely Removed, Medications not only acknowledge their hometown’s storied history, but find new ways to take it forward.