If there is one thing to be said about Dead Meadow’s new album Warble Womb, it’s that this is definitely the next logical step in the band’s progression. Dead Meadow has been active since 1998, and in the last fifteen years, it’s managed to stay true to its sound, while testing it at the same time. This album includes original drummer Mark Laughlin—his first appearance with the band in twelve years—which reunited the band’s original lineup.
What comes off as surprising is that despite the original members, Warble Womb is a clear departure from the heavier sound the band is known for. This newest album contains over 70 minutes of soft psychedelic trips and something a little less than the stoner rock one might expect from them. While there are still many undertones of its older work, this album was all about experimentation.
The lengthy opening track “Six to Let the Light Shine Through” is somewhat marshy, and much more subtle than the band’s previous work. The blues-y riff creates a sleepy sludge, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Its sound is nowhere near as thick as in the past, and the band has certainly toned down the heaviness that its are known for.
This album was not made for casual listening. It’s long and for a good reason. The entire work is an experiment and each song offers a new experience. Amber Webber offers her vocals for two of the tracks and songs like “One More Toll Taker” have an earnest, acoustic drift.
Warble Womb was an ambitious undertaking. The record is slow moving, but sure of itself. Each song falls into the other consistently and with ease. While the psychedelic exploration between guitar and bass is not nearly as apparent as it had been in the past, it hasn’t completely disappeared. The changes may have set some long time fans aback but the overall album is an interesting and varied listen.