- Six to Let the Light Shine Thru...
- 1000 Dreams
- Mr. Chesty
- I'm Cured
- WArble Womb I
- Yesterday's Blowin' Back
- One More Toll Taker
- Rains in the Desert
- Burn the Here and Now
- All Torn Up
- In the Thicket
- Copper is Restless ('Til It Turns to Gold)
- Warble Womb II
- This Song is Over
Release Date: November 4, 2013
Label: Xemu Records
Like a lot of people I got into Dead Meadow as they broke bigger on Matador Records in 2003 with Shivering Kings and Others. I was behind the curve. I was quickly drawn in, but it was lighter fare than I had anticipated. The occasional dip into heavier and faster relays a Windhand or Witch feel. The majority of their sound is based on lush landscapes of reverb and atonal melodies.
A decade and a pile of LPs later, Dead Meadow is back with drummer, Mark Laughlin, who founded and later parted. Stoner rock or psychedelic or whichever name quells you to place on this music; Dead Meadow has been creating this sound for years. They tinker with these sounds through their prior full length, Three Kings, which proudly heralded a tougher 70’s vibe, spitting broken teeth of rocking blues.
“Mr Chesty”, complete with opening laugh track to fuck with any filtered experience, could easily be on Jimi Hendrix’s Axis of Love. The slow, groove laden hum lends itself to a cinematic unleashing. “Mr Chesty” could somehow serve as the hipster anthem for a summer or be in a David Fincher opening credits sequence to introduce the dregs of the heist group. Cautious, meandering guitars enhance rich tones and strong, hue-saturated visuals of any imagintive listener.
The vibe of this album is on par with their quieter songs, but each bass line and pop of drums tell you that rhythm and groove are going to be central factors. The sound is derivative of Eastern music (“Warble Womb I”); not so much Beatles like Uncle Acid went recently, more of a Traffic, Small Faces, Rolling Stones (Between the Buttons, Metamorphosis) tradition.
Some modern injections elevate the tunes to a spacey, psych feel. The press release is touting their incorporation of dub. “Yesterday’s Blowing Back” could have a DJ laying down the beat. Hypnotic with a funk foundation, the quiet strums beckon even 90’s alternative; just with better guitar playing.
“This Song is Over” does churn up the fuzz and noise with a taut riff rapidly strewn over a ticking bass line. This is a starker departure from the David Lynch feel, as there is no surrealistic ambience; just simply the gnawing of the instruments. Like the Sabbath worship era Black Flag or a Mike Patton remix of a Public Enemy song. Consequently, it’s really just a blues song, plain and simple. As Geezer Butler would play it.
With the songwriting sensibility of a Joe Pernice, the varied instrumentation on the album elicits a multitude of images. Dead Meadow adds a lulling accordion with sleep paced breaths to an acoustic guitar picking slowly, which transfers a sense of reflection on “One More Toll Taker”. While the striking “Rains in the desert” embraces a David Lynchian blues feel that would awaken the listener to confusion. And in more along these vibes, the undeniable Cramps’ influence charges the raucous romp, “All Torn Up”. There are other sounds here that all point to an ode to CBGB 1979, a la Talking Heads, Television, etc.
Somewhere in the web of all these influences, you can hear a genuine album of rock and blues grit and swagger. Sit down; err, lay down. Put on some sturdy headphones, enhance your experience as needed, and enjoy. - Shrum (NewNoiseMagazine.com December 5, 2013)