ASSEMBLE HEAD IN SUNBURST SOUND - When Sweet Sleep Returned CD (Tee Pee Records)
Having no knowledge of this San Francisco band, I eagerly awaited to hear When Sweet Sleep Returned, after digging their MySpace page. Upon hearing the whole CD in its entirety, the release easily ranks as one of the year’s best releases. Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound harnesses their influences, and through their songwriting – playing abilities, is able to work their collective magic on so many different levels.
First off, Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound have a spiritual kinship with a few Bay Area heavyweights such as Comets On Fire, Howlin Rain, and Six Organs of Admittance in pushing the advancement of 60 – 70’s musical adventurism. However, the guru who holds them all together (in terms of sound) is Tim Green @ Louder Studios. Tim Green also produced this album in his own inimitable manner. Song for song, the total listening experience is wild and alluring.
“Two Stage Rocket” starts off a perfectly timed riff, vocals are introduced by keyboardist Camilia Saufley and guitarist Charlie Saufley, as a theremin is applied to dispense weird effects . Fuzz riffs are then sprayed, and the song tempo takes off with some excellent lead work by Jefferson Marshall. On the second track “Two Birds” the mood is cast mellow, and the vocal harmonizing by the two vocalists summons the ghosts of long forgotten West Coast psych bands. The bass – drum – keyboard accompaniments are very impressive.
The song then ends with a power chord bombast.
Just as you thought you could come up for air, the third track “Drunken Leaves” continues to hit the mark for explosive, riff carnage. On “Drunken Leaves”, the band pays homage to some fine Stooges thuggery, and proceeds to let their fuzzbox loose. On a more subtle note, you can hear on the track, how important it is to have the addition a great keyboardist to further enhance the sound.
“The Slumbering Ones” displays a progressive – gentle side to their sound. However, the effect is stunning. The shared vocals combined with the melancholic flute playing are truly beautiful, and offer respite from the aggressive style offered on the prior track. As a whole, the track sequencing is perfect. The track “Kolob Canyon” is a study in guitar excess. The vocals, heavy rhythm section and the guitar interplay is exquisite.
“Clive and the Lyre” continues in the vein in “Drunk en Leaves” serving up massive slabs of Stooges sludge.
When Sweet Sleep Returned is the perfect album for fans who have taken in the last 40 years of music. The beauty of Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound’s music is the ability to offer crunch, but also lighter fare. The ability of this band to swing back and forth is what sets them apart.
Verdict: get a hold of this CD. I look forward to checking out their back catalogue.- Arthur S
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