Monday, October 19, 2009

Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound's "Ekranoplan": Music Review

San Franciscans blend the Dead to Hawkwind: "Hall of the Mountain Grill" meets Mountain Girl? The first couple of songs take on the British band's assault, textured and processed in a muddy early-70s sludge. The Dead's more pastoral style infused the next two, and the fifth and sixth tracks mix the styles. Song seven builds up to the best one, but songs eight and nine then fall back into lassitude and dissipate the energy of the middle section of the record.

This all shows intentional arrangement of these songs to flow, but they do seem uneven on each end ebbing around the peaks midway. The band lacks distinctive vocals or standout instrumentalists, but this mushy production, as on their appropriately titled 2009 follow-up "When Sweet Sleep Returned" (also reviewed by me) does reveal consistency in hearkening back to a psychedelia that evokes the aftermath of the Sixties rather than its frenzied heyday.

I like Hawkwind '72-'75 more than the Grateful Dead, so my reaction may not match yours. This band on both CDs also recalls coastal neighbors Comets on Fire in its admiration for an overlay of synthesized, vintage distortion over guitar rock that looks backward to a mishmash of terse prog, freaky folk, and placid interludes that swirl around a dirty, muddy sound. While only track seven, "D. Brown," for me works totally, there's promise on both records that will keep me listening to this band's efforts. (Posted to Amazon US 10-19-09)

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