Dead Meadow - Shivering King And Others

If like me you went to see Super Furry Animals on tour you'd have noticed their support band Dead Meadow. The three piece from Washington have had their first album signed to a label from Fugazi, their live album recorded by Brian Jones Town Massacre and the latest "Shivering King And Others" is their first for Matador Records. The albums artwork is strikingly mystical, evoking images and ideas from the man who created The Lord Of The Rings, JRR Tolkien. This is matched by the moody soundscape and imaginative lyrics.

"I Love You Too" has an old fashioned, guitar heavy intro and a Tim Burgess style vocal from singer and guitarist Jason Simon. It's all a bit of a masterclass at the Led Zepellin school of riffs and the repetitive chord structure is a bit limiting. The lyrics have hippie overtones about suns not sitting and rivers flowing, 60s flower power but with a distinctly British 70s rock undercurrent. Perhaps a little long and self indulgent, but certainly effective. The hypnotic mood continues on "Everything Going On". It's lucky the lyrics are included in the sleevenotes as it's hard to decipher exactly what Jason is singing about. Lyrically flamboyant and the heavy duty wall of sound compliments it with style and credibility. "Good Mornin" has an urgent live feel, free from studio trickery, a back to basics no nonsense recording session which sees Dead meadows fondness for Jimi Hendrix guitar solos. "Shivering King" would fit neatly as a poem in Camelot. A gentle acoustic lament which is high on detail and  stylistically a musical highlight of the album, showing hidden depths to the bands repertoire.

"Shivering King And Others" maybe be a little long and occasionally plodding, but the passion of the playing and the lush lyrical content mark it out as a cut above the usual Stateside rock outfit. It may look back to the past for inspiration, but when the end result us this pleasing you can indulge yourself with a satisfying album.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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