Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound

Ekranoplan

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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.

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