Psychedelic musical artistry
American psychedelic rock band Dead Meadow has released one of their best albums yet with The Nothing They Need. Living up to their stoner-rock nature, The Nothing They Need is very reminiscent of the rock of the ’60s and ’70s. What makes the album extra special is that it’s the group’s 20th anniversary, and it features the past and current members of the band. This includes Jason Simon on vocals and guitar, Steve Kille on bass and sitar, their two former drummers Mark Laughlin and Stephen McCarty, their current drummer Juan Londono, and an appearance from former guitarist Cory Shane on one song. Member Steve Kill is quoted as saying that The Nothing They Need is supposed to be a “surreal journey,” and that definitely can be seen through the laidback songs and great musical artistry.
The Nothing They Need starts with “Keep Your Head” which also serves as the single for the album. It’s a great song, with vocals and instruments that sound slightly muffled, giving it a dreamlike vibe. The instruments are what stand out the most in the song, as a consistent drumbeat keeps the listeners grounded while they drift through the trip that is the song as a whole. It’s a long song, coming in at 6:23, but it’s a great way to start the album, as the listeners are shown exactly what kind of journey they’re about to embark on. The next song on the album is “Here With the Hawk,” and it’s another strong addition. It has a great beat, and Jason Simon’s vocals are fantastic throughout this song. It’s a shorter song and could make an excellent second single.
Two other songs of note from The Nothing They Need is “The Shaky Hand is Not Mine” and “The Light.” “The Shaky Hand is Not Mine” feels heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin and other similar artists, considering the purposeful guitar and lower vocals, along with the 5:22 length. The guitar at the end of the song really brings it all together, adding a blues style in with the psychedelic nature of the rest of the song. “The Light” also has some blues elements to the guitar, this time coming in at the beginning. It’s very different from the rest of the songs on the album. Even with Simon’s very recognizable voice, it feels darker than their usual music, which is ironic considering the title of the song.
The album ends with “Unsettled Dust.” It begins like a continuation to “The Light,” before launching into a song more reminiscent of the earlier songs like “Keep Your Head.” Dead Meadow are masters of psychedelic rock, and “Unsettled Dust” is a perfect example of this. It has a dreamy sound while also feeling a bit foreboding. The music is dark, but Simon’s vocals are light, and they play off of each other perfectly. It’s a great song to wrap up the album. The Nothing They Need is available for purchase now, and Dead Meadow is currently on tour of the U.S.