After the cloudy-headed bong blast of 2005's Feathers, Dead Meadow comes through relatively clear (though not quite as loud) on Old Growth. The overpowering contact buzz of the L.A. psych-rockers' previous work has subsided, resulting in highs that are more pleasant than pulverizing this time around. At times, Dead Meadow sounds like a heavier Brian Jonestown Massacre, toning down the stoner-metal riffs of old in favor of languid, vaguely bluesy slow-burners like "What Needs Must Be" and "The Great Deceiver." The light, almost country-rock jangle of "I'm Gone" is a peek at Dead Meadow's underutilized pop side, while "Seven Seers" suggests that the band can strum hypnotic, Eastern-tinged folk as it well as it pounds hypnotic, Sabbath-style riffs. For the most part, though, Dead Meadow doesn't stray too far from its weed-rock comfort zone, and by the album's end, all the mid-tempo guitar shuffles blur together and dissolve like exhaled smoke. But in spite of some indistinct songwriting, Old Growth on the whole still has the power to alter minds, musically or otherwise.
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