D.C. sludge psych-rock trio Dead Meadow have been decamped in L.A. for some time, yet its resulting sixth album, the inexhaustible Warble Womb, is almost obdurate in its commitment to the formula the group has cultivated for 15 years: wailing, droning guitars, smothered by stalwart percussion, and draped in hazy, oozing vocals. A kind of timeless outfit, Dead Meadow pummel and extract noisy melodies out of their instruments in a peerless way.
Yet, it's the quieter moments, like the distant jet stream synthesizers and acoustic tangle of "One More Toll Taker" or the organ whinnies and tremulous guitar echoes of "Burn the Here and Now," that feel inspired on Warble Womb.
The inclusion of the group's original drummer, Mark Laughlin, back for the first time since 2001, adds the right snap to the group's otherwise viscous sound. He and bassist Steve Kille work in perfect conjunction, conjuring up funky magic on "Copper Is Restless ('Til It Turns to Gold)" and building and releasing tension throughout "1000 Dreams."
Warble Womb may be a squeam-inducing title, but it perfectly encapsulates the tonal experience of being immersed in the experience of listening to the 71 minutes of this release. "This Song Is Over," a nearly 10-minute captivating track, is a litmus test, as voodoo guitar licks are ultimately swallowed up by a dissonant electronic loop.