Fresh out of the black lagoon where Tedo Stone has been stirring in an Athen’s cocoon, Marshes was released to the general public on Friday via Southern label This is American Music. It is the band’s second full-length album since Good Go Bad dropped its strange fruit from the trees in July of 2013. After amassing a crew of trusted souls, Stone had the minerals to record the album straight-to-tape at Chase Park Transduction in Athens with famed producer Drew Vandenberg (Of Montreal, Deerhunter).
The irradiated, iridescent pond scum at the very heart of Marshes ignites the listener within a sonic wall of petrol-fueled guitar gaze. Lost in the possessions of black magic, it lingers in the reeds, perpetually burning on the surface of uncharted backwoods water like a psychedelic phantom. Where most would turn back for higher ground, these songs command safe passage as they seamlessly drift through the flames propelled by an airboat chunking alligator meat through saltwater-bruised fan blades.
While taking a casual listen, there is a distant familiarity to Dead Meadow. Peculiar, yet highly intriguing continuity mushrooms out of its belt-busting gut from tunes such as “D4L” and “Slugs” to “Way Gone” and “Home to It” where Stone begs, “Take me home, take me home, take me home.” Stone’s words curdle with necessity like rare carnivorous flowers left to the devices of bent vocal inflections and fuzz-induced voodoo dolls that cling to Spanish moss. The percussive elements have been constructed to needle deep into the stitches of each song’s framework. The pure rawness of the live tracking cuts so hard into each track’s groove that the only thing left in the folds of their emotionally-guided wake are vivid images of shoreline trenches dug out for open air burials. Such as Tibetan ritual mandates, these soundscapes lay rotting in the wind, exposed to natural elements and birds of prey in order to exonerate cotton-cloaked echoes from their bowels that swirl to unsettling, stomach-arousing heights like in the space swamp track “Get Off.”
Stone left the keys to this album underneath the front doorstep of a bourbon-built cabin on stilts. It can feel like home, and it can feel like a smoke-filled bohemian hideout in the distant corners of the bayou. There is an obvious and inviting accessibility from the the first note that glides into your palm like the firm handshake of a fatally attractive stranger without a name. Lead cut “To The Marshes” is a high-gear alt-rock glam jam featuring lofty guitar riffs reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr. and Neil Finn, while displaying melodious resonances of songs such as Foo Fighters’ “Learn to Fly.” Just one play inspires listener’s gluttony.
This wax is hot off the press and is ready to sink its teeth into your velvety car stereo any way it can. Give it a heaping earful but proceed with extreme caution for this album is like a Venus fly trap. Marshes is quick to bite and slow to release.