The room is dim, the tie dye bedspread redolent with patchouli and the 70s are just a wisp of fragrant smoke away as we are tumbled headlong into Greenleaf’s 7th album via a clamour of tumultuous drums.
Originally a side project formed by Tommi Holappa of Dozer and Demon Cleaner’s Daniel Liden, Greenleaf have been doing their thing since 2000 and Rise above the Meadow is a riff-tastic example of stoner rock at its finest. With few tracks under 5 mins, listening requires commitment but the pay off is worth it.
The imagery if fantastical, bringing to mind beards and bards, denim and doom and, if Lancelot had an iPod, this is what he would have been listening to as he cavorted on the banks of the Lake.
This album is also fantastic for playing spot-the-influences. Million Fireflies is pure Sabbath, whilst Funeral Pyre brings to mind elements of Black Widow’s “Come to the Sabbat”. The rest of the album gives us shades of Zappa and Zeppelin, in equal measure until we get to Golden Throne, which is the shortest, liveliest track on the album and boasts the dirty bass and stomping rhythmic blues style common to QOTSA and The Black Keys.
Levitate is the longest track on the album and leads us deep down the rabbit hole into the Doors territory. The slow build-up leads to an expansive chorus; a ballad to the Goddess of the Greenleaf as they entreat her to “get us stoned and we’ll come right back…to life.” If you squint, you can almost make out Jim Morrison standing alongside the stage, nodding along in approval.
Having recently come off the Up in Smoke tour, Greenleaf are bound to be doing the rounds of festivals this summer and I would definitely recommend checking them out.