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Listening

Dead Meadow, Shivering King and Others

Dead Meadow is dirty, dirty psychedelic rock of the Blue Cheer variety. In fact, so much of the sound is so authentic that you’d swear it was snaked straight out of a ‘60s acid burnout’s record collection. To take the metaphor to more extravagant frontiers, we’ll have to call upon medical theories (no doubt spread as rumor by that same burnout) that suggest acid flashbacks happen because residual LSD is stored in the body’s fat cells. Whenever one of those LSD-packed fat cells is burned—which happens, according to the burnout, all the time, even if you’re just standing up, walking around, or even just turning your head—the LSD is released into the body, causing brief effects of LSD, or a ‘flashback.’ Well, that’s like Dead Meadow. Just ‘popping’ open some forty years after the hit was originally downed.

With droning fuzz guitars, steady riffs, and thoroughly effects-laden vocals, much of Shivering King and Others is awash in a single glow, with a few different arrangements explored over the course of it. That’s certainly not any kind of a detraction, since the whole thing works to evoke a mood, simultaneously relaxed and damaged, and stunning in its results. When Dead Meadow enters altogether different territory, however, is when things get really interesting.

In particular is the very acoustic ‘Shivering King’ which gets all like Nick Drake meets The Doors. To say it’s ‘far out’ wouldn’t be totally off the mark. But to say it’s ‘mesmerizing’ would be more appropriate, man. Also a standout is the beautiful and disorienting album closer, ‘Raise the Sails,’ which just evokes something that makes writing about albums really difficult. We’ll leave it at that.

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Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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