Release Date: Nov 26, 2013
Record label: Xemu
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
With their sixth studio album, Warble Womb, stoner rock/neo-psych institution Dead Meadow stretch out in every possible direction, reuniting their original lineup with the inclusion of drummer Mark Laughlin and laying down over 70 minutes of sprawling psychedelic trip-outs and gentle rain-soaked acoustic mysticism. A good 15 years into their craft, Dead Meadow aren't making the same Sabbath-worshiping riff ramblers that they were in the early 2000s, and even from the first stumbling, swampy grooves of album opener "Six to Let the Light Shine Through," it's clear that the band is building its psychedelia on a more patient, nuanced subtlety than the thick walls of noise of earlier days. That's not to say that Warble Womb is un-heavy.
Could Warble Womb be Dead Meadow’s “Judas!” moment? Their Self 'what is this shit?' Portrait? Their Shit Sandwich? This seems to be the gist of a thread entitled Dead Meadow RIP on the stonerrocklives.com message boards. 'Have you guys seen them lately?' enquires the thread’s author, 'I don't think corny is the word. They're trying to be a 50’s David Lynch hipster lounge act.
It’s been more than a year ago on this day when on a debauched Friday night outing with the wife I discovered it… Dead Meadow’s Miller Lite commercial! I remember like it was yesterday; my back turned to the bar in an almost successful attempt to drown out the sounds of some athletic event or other being televised that night, when all of a sudden the instantly recognizable fuzzy-wuzzy tone of the opening riff to their 2000 self-titled debut began to blare in background of that scale model of a limey watering hole. “What the F?!” That must have been a nice little payday for Dead Meadow, who have been at their grind since 1998, and up until Warble Womb have been putting out consistently good stoner/psych-rock, so kudos to them. Certainly there should be some compensation for their career thus far! The final thought that emerged from my hazy, Ale-soaked deductive reasoning, however, was that perhaps this commercial marked the Dead Meadow’s “jump-the-shark” moment.
Warble Womb is the sixth studio release for this D.C. trio, and it’s a noticeable departure for the band. This double album is about 75 minutes long—that’s an hour and a quarter of meandering, not-quite stoner rock. And by “not-quite” I mean that the album is lengthy as expected, but the tracks have a classic rock bent and a distinct lack of the band’s signature heavy sludginess.
Since their inception in 1998 as heavy, sharp-angled desert rockers on Fugazi bassist Joe Lally’s Tolotta Records, Washington DC’s Dead Meadow have gone through some understandable changes. Psychedleia was always about transformation, the journey, from the departure of original drummer Mark Laughlin through to guitarist/vocalist Jason Simon’s personal, solo reinvention as a country troubadour the balance, over five ‘proper’ studio albums (their Peel Sessions are well worth a listen outside of this) they’ve certainly shifted somewhat. Laughlin is back on Warble Womb and it’s his first appearance on a Dead Meadow in more than a decade.