Dead Meadow is back, new and improved, with their latest album Feathers. This is the Washington DC band's fourth album, their second for Matador Records. The band has added another guitar player, increasing the size of the group to a quartet, and in doing so has also altered their sound. It is difficult to pin this band down, as there are stoner-rock, psych-rock, and even a bit shoegazer. The result is an amazing blend of Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, and Calla. Bassist Steve Kille produced the album, marking his debut in such a role. The album is filled with huge riffs submerged in oceans of guitar fuzz and psyche drones. Their sound has never been bigger, fuller, or more haunting. The record opens up with "Let's Jump In", a murky tune that shows the band still likes to rock out a bit. The band lightens up a bit with "Such Hawks Such Hounds", which is a much more vocally driven track than fans may be accustomed to. They pull back the curtain of drone on this one to expose the shoegazer sensibility that lies underneath. An interesting change in sound happens on "At Her Open Door", which seems to hint at the band's increasing curiosity of Americana. You hear a slight twang in the song, which blends seamlessly with the rest of the album. The genius part of this record is that stays accessible while exploring new experimental territory. The songs on this album are chilling, as they seem to lurk in the shadows, waiting to grab you once the sun goes down. So turn the lights down, pop Feathers in, and listen to one of the finest records of the year.
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