Dead Meadow - Three Kings - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Dead Meadow - Three Kings

by Andy Brown Rating:8 Release Date:2010-03-29

Washington DC psychedelic trio Dead Meadow have been making consistently excellent albums since their self-titled debut in 2000, enjoying critical praise and a John Peel session in 2001 along the way. Live they have become an impressive act, immersing the crowd in a master-class of classic rock riffs and hazy psychedelia. Three Kings serves as a perfect introductory package for the uninitiated containing live versions of tracks from every album to date and a live performance DVD intercut with the rather bonkers Three Kings film.

The live CD is a pretty much faultless document of the Dead Meadow sound from the pulsating, Hendrix-isms of 'Everything's Goin' On' to the languid groove of 'Between Me and the Ground'. Dead Meadow take influences from classic rock territory like Led Zeppelin feed them a healthy dose of Spacemen 3-esque fuzz and manage not only to make it their own but make it sound fresh and vital. In this sense there's a spiritual affinity with bands like the Brian Jonestown Massacre, whose Anton Newcombe produced their previous live album, 2002 release Got Live If You Want It. Jason Simon's lyrics are often cryptic, the vocals laid back - an echo through the clouds of smoke and distortion, adding to the sense of mystery and the unknown that runs through so many of these songs. Tracks like the Eastern indebted 'Seven Seers' and personal highlight 'At Her Open Door' are ideal for sunny days spent stoned, disorientated and blissfully staring into the sky. In other words, Dead Meadow make music you can get completely lost in. Which brings us neatly to the accompanying live DVD and film.

Three Kings sees the band perform another excellent live set, intercut with what could be best described as dream sequences. We see drummer Stephen McCarty wondering around the desert, a strange clown-doll thing staring at bemused singer Jason Simon and bass player Steve Kille shooting someone in the face along with some more typical hand-held footage of the band relaxing. They also do a lot of wondering around in the cloaks they're wearing so well on the cover - like lost scenes from Lord of the Rings. All this might sound a bit pretentious yet whilst it's undeniably silly the Three Kings film is extremely enjoyable. You get the feeling the band enjoy the sense of ridiculousness and theatrics involved and don't take the whole thing too seriously. In all Three Kings is a pretty excellent package, offering the complete Dead Meadow experience as it were. After this you should really go and see them live.

Best Tracks: 'At Her Open Door' 'Between Me and the Ground' and 'Queen of All Returns'

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