Dead Meadow has been in existence for 20 years now and have succeeded in cutting a very singular rut. Imagine, if you will, lying down in a sun-kissed field, gazing at the sky while wistfully chewing on a length of freshly plucked grass that dangles from your lips. In the distance you can hear a band practicing in a dilapidated farm building, when the wind catches it just right, it sounds like they’re in the field with you.
They’re channeling a mix of classic ’60s rock, stoner grooves, and improvised guitar extrapolations. It’s possible there’s some weed involved. What is certain, as those blues soaked guitar tones wash over you, is that this is the nothing you need. Dead Meadow has never really deviated from their path of blissed out expanses of blues-tinted stoned rock, and The Nothing They Need continues along a similar path.
Anyone expecting any sharp turns into new areas will be disappointed, but when it comes to Dead Meadow, only a fool would think that the band might deviate from their usual blueprint. If anything, this particular album is a celebration of everything they do. It features every member of the band from their 20 year history and sounds exactly how you’d expect a Dead Meadow album to sound.
Bands are often criticised for not evolving or pushing their sound into new arenas, but frankly when it sounds this good, who cares about evolution? As an entry into the band’s catalogue this is as good a starting point as any, and for those who know them already this is simply an album that does everything you need it to do.
The laid back sun-kissed grooves are perfect (The Shaky Hand Is Not Mine manages to be both threatening and relaxing, which is quite a trick) and the forays into psychedelia and guitar workouts give everything a curious glowing edge. There’s nothing new or surprising here, but that doesn’t matter. The Nothing They Need is an album that works best when it simply washes over you.