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Album Review

Straight out of San Francisco erupt Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, a band that formed early in the new millennium but sounds like it just washed in from the '60 and early '70s. Assemble Head's self-produced and self-released debut album was available in minimal quantities (500 to be precise), so Ekranoplan will be most people's introduction to their approach in the studio. The group's core trio sports a wide array of influences, all of which burst out in this recording. "Mosquito Lantern," for instance, is built around an Iron Butterfly-ish riff, a hard rockin' blues that slides into rockabilly and then prog before the song's done. "A Bourbon for Rudy" is even more blues-based, and bleeds straight out of "The Corner Zombies," which is brighter in sound, with a definite Jefferson Airplane bent. In contrast comes the darker "Occult Roots," a song that slips right into Black Sabbath's satanic realms, while the blistering "D Brown" boasts Hendrix-esque guitars early in, but swiftly settles into a delicious Creamy jam. And "jam" defines much of the band's sound, even though most of the tracks clock in at under four minutes, a style that reaches heady heights on the fabulously spacy instrumental "The Morning Maiden." Even so, the Head's heads aren't totally in the past — "Ellen Koray," for instance, is a fabulous mix of classic and recent styles, while the title track spatters grunge all over prog rock. Prog fans will have a marvelous time comparing the Head to their originators, while everyone else will revel in the group's musicianship and glory in the rich textures and atmospheres that infuse this splendid set.


Formed: San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Taking their energy from just about every frenetic phase of the canon of rock and some blistering live shows, San Francisco's Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound emerged as a trio (Michael Lardas, Jefferson Marshall, and Charlie Saufley) from the West Coast in the early 2000s, and would soon expand -- by the time of 2009's When Sweet Sleep Returned -- to a seven-piece, featuring a bevy of multi-instrumentalists (Anderson Landbridge, Camilla Saufley) and harmony vocalists (Sleepy Sun's Brett Constantino...
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Ekranoplan, Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound
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