15 March, 2009

Zen Garden Rock

I do not usually enjoy music that is purely psychedelic, relying on sitar and theremin, and meaningless poetics to accomplish a semblance of substance. Harsh? Maybe, but I have had too much experience with bands (and people) who hide their inanity and flakiness behind a facade of spiritual depth.

This obvious generalization does not hold true for Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound who come charged and fully rocking from San Francisco, California, and psychedelic in the most wonderful way. Their epic rock songs remain grounded in the art of the blues, but loosely grounded and ready to levitate. Root-rumbling bass flows underfoot like an epiphonic stream, and taps into the delicious, growling guitar. The percussion adds flashes of light to the landscape, every drumbeat an exclamation point, a thunder clap following the stream.

In 2007 Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound released their second album on Tee Pee records. It is entitled Ekranoplan (in case you are wondering what an Ekranoplan is, it is a Ground Effect Vehicle which falls somewhere between an airplane and a hovercraft on the flight vehicle spectrum) and it certainly has its valleys and peaks. The title track tries to accomplish too much in my opinion. It becomes an aural tornado when it would have succeeded as a tamer storm. The third track, "Rudy on The Corner," is melodic and moody, and the odd vocal effects (fuzziness and tunnel sound combined) achieve a certain level of eccentricity without alienating the listener. "Occult Roots" hits the Blue Oyster Cult button directly on the head, while smoldering and simmering like the creepiest Black Sabbath songs. My personal favorite track from the entire album is "D Brown." I feel as if Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound is creating a landscape with this song. It reminds me of the building of Narnia in The Magician's Nephew (although I am almost certain that this soundtrack is better). Every section of the song adds a new element to the landscape, and the Earth starts humming along, always growing, moving, changing. The thing about Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound is that they groove and jam, but they rarely become bland. I am impressed.

Side note: I wish I had a little artistic talent so that I could design concert posters for a living. I think they are amazing and beautiful.

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