Dead Meadow have been fusing Black Sabbath-style riffs with whirling, melodic, psych-fuzz for the best part of 20 years now and have seven studio albums, including three for legendary US label Matador, and two live albums under their belts. What this all means is that they’re pretty good at what they do. The Nothing They Need is their latest stoner masterpiece. LP and CD on Xemu Records.
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The nightmare that is listening to psych rock on an empty, decaf stomach is with us once again as I dare to take on Dead Meadow at the crack of dawn. Dead Meadow’s chunky and laborious approach to their genre usually gets ‘stoner’ assigned to it, but when I listen to it, I’m mostly reminded of Homer Simpson dragging that stone of triumph on his back. Suffice to say their newest record, ‘The Nothing they Need’, is proud to be a slog.
A good eighteen years into their season of Sabbath, Dead Meadow are longtime experts of a certain, traditional strand of psychedelia, crafting clear and stringent tunes with super repetitive guitar churn, belittling wah and snarling vocals -- the whole thing basically sounds like stuff to dwell in a basement to, occasionally tacking a brighter, window-gazing melody onto the slime of an ever-looping bass line. Sure, it’s fuzzy, but it’s streamlined for your pleasure, their slow and heavy ascent leaving no lord behind; the atmosphere pre-established, they very occasionally deviate from its course, implementing lovely woodwind trills into the twinkling miasma of “Rest Natural”.
It’s probably not gonna blow anyone away, but rarely does a doomed-up psych record charm as much as this. Jason Simon’s band jump on little opportunities, with sparkle-toned guitars phasing in and out around a daydream riff on “Unsettled Dust”. Plenty to enjoy on this record, ad nauseum.
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- The Nothing They Need by Dead Meadow
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