With its sweetleaf-green cover art and drowsy dirges, Feathers
, Dead Meadow's recent release, looks and plays like a stoner soundtrack. However, the Black Sabbath-style riffs lack menace, and the lyrics, though anachronistically ornate and occasionally obtuse, seldom delve into vintage psychedelia's philosophical profundities. Feathers
demands the creation of a new category: Pothead-roommate rock. Like the titular toker, this record meanders at a yawning pace, stopping to gaze at its shoes -- or anything else shiny. It's melodically messy, sludgy, and sometimes maddeningly mellow. Toward the end of the evening/album, it pulls out the acoustic and plays a blues-folk ballad that recalls Beck's One Foot in the Grave
("Stacy's Song"), lulls listeners to sleep with ambient guitar drones ("Let It All Pass"), then wakes everyone with a drum circle ("Through the Gates of the Sleepy Silver Door.") Quirks notwithstanding, Feathers
is good to have around. It's gentle (Jason Simon's voice feels light as a feather), generous (songs sprawl past the six-minute mark), and sporadically sage ("Almighty wisdom/The only jewel"). In concert, the D.C.-based quartet (second guitarist Cory Shane just joined the fold) smothers its songs in hazy reverb and causes serious contact highs.