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The Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound
Tee Pee Records
5 stars

“Ekranoplan,” the debut album from the Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, is the kind of headtrip that could only come from San Francisco.

It’s a brilliant combination of Haight-Asbury and the sun-baked jams redolent of California’s deserts. Freakouts like the pugnacious echo chamber of the title track, the raw, celestial boogie of “D Brown” and the lysergic campfire folk of “The Morning Maiden” make it easy to picture a tie-dye glow and liquid backdrop dancing in the back of your mind. But far from being hippy-dippy, this music will bang as many heads as it will elicit satisfied nods.

This unusual collective may often forge chimerical terrain, but they leave little room for indulgence. “Ekranoplan” delivers nine songs in less than 40 minutes. Of the time Assemble Head does allot itself, it achieves maximum impact. It’s the soul-searing, kiss-the-sky guitar work that steals the show, but even on a meandering instrumental like “A Bourbon for Rudy,” the rest of the players manage to kick up quite a storm.

Atavistic in mind but broad in scope, “Ekranoplan” is a masterpiece of influence, written in a language that is solely the Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound’s own.


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