On their last album, WEEED began a proper crossover with the current wave of Cosmic Americana, finding themselves more often than not wading in the same tributaries as Garcia Peoples’ expanding universe. This time around they only strengthen the resolve, finding the cosmic strain and reaching through the wormhole to pull out parcels of prime-era German Progressives and psychedelic Swedes. The album slithers through Agitation Free tessellations, Anglo-folk pomp, and enough Trad, Gras to fill a forest, but nowhere more than on the album’s centerpiece, a massive four part suite. The song fulfills the promise of what the Portland band has been hinting at for years, creating a formidable psychedelic chimera that pounds through rhythms, rises on majestic strums, and threads the beast with shivers of flute.
Outside of the prism piece that is “Rhythm on the Ground,” they dash the listener into polyrhythmic shores, letting the gnarled burble of “Anicha” parry with the song’s thick-skinned guitars. They add an element of space to Do You Fall?, never rushing to the riff, but instead letting songs seethe and settle at their own pace. While “Rhythm” is the axis, “Reflection” proves just as ambitious. The song rides in on a motorik tussle before mapping the quasar with a dash of quicksilver leads and whiplash changes.
The album, while not entirely conceptual, moves like one big organism — feasting on volume and resting in resplendence within WEEED’s aural vortex. At its heart, the album is an exploration of grief, but despite the darker currents, it’s the most comfortable they’ve sounded yet, embracing progression, propulsion, and bliss and channeling them into a cosmic quilt. With Do You Fall? WEEED have created an album that’s transcended the trappings of the jam/stoner aesthetics they conjure. Not that there’s ever been anything dirty in those designations, but try to spring an album by a band dubbed WEEED on some folks and they’re gonna balk out of pettiness. With their latest, the band have created one of the year’s best complex rock records and one that forever wipes the cocked sneers off of any detractors.