Assembly of Dust

Some Assembly Required

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When an album's list of guests includes guitarist John Scofield and banjoist Béla Fleck (both of whom are featured on Some Assembly Required), jazz enthusiasts are likely to take notice. But even though this 2009 release incorporates jazz elements on occasion (as well as elements of blues, soul, and country), Some Assembly Required is a roots rock/Americana effort first and foremost. That was Assembly of Dust's orientation on previous releases, and it continues to be their orientation on this 54-minute CD -- which maintains the strong '70s flavor they are known for. Influences the New York City residents had in the past (including Neil Young, Little Feat, J.J. Cale, and the Eagles) are no less evident on Some Assembly Required, and their love affair with the '70s continues on tunes like "Borrowed Feet" (the song that features Scofield), "Edges" (featuring Fleck), and "Leadbelly" (which was written in memory of the Southern country blues/folk icon but doesn't try to emulate him stylistically). Scofield and Fleck aren't the CD's only noteworthy guests; other well-known guests range from progressive bluegrass mandolin player David Grisman on "Cold Coffee" to singer Richie Havens on the opener, "All That I Am Now." But Assembly of Dust are the ones in the driver's seat -- the ones who do the most to shape the album's direction. Some Assembly Required doesn't pretend to be groundbreaking, but if Assembly of Dust are derivative, they are pleasingly derivative. This is a well-crafted, nicely executed disc that never fails to be enjoyable.

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