Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound

1. L.A. Sacrifice
2. (Gone) ‘Round The Corner
3. Blue Wire
4. Sunshine
5. Ghost String
6. Slithery Thing
7. Green Meadow Slowdown
8. The Flume
9. Low Island Blues

Michael Lardas
Jefferson Marshall
Charlie Saufley
Camilla Saufley-Mitchell
Anderson Landbridge
Brett Constantino

Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound (self released 2005)
Ekranoplan (2007)
When Sweet Sleep Returned (2009)

Matt Holliman (Vocals)
Isaiah Mitchell (Vocals)
Evan Reiss (Vocals)

Tim Green (Engineer, Instrumentation, Mastering, Mixing)
Andy Ristaino (Art)

Released 2012-06-19
Reviewed 2013-05-04


I have to say that the cover raise some curiosity. Is it that kind of figures you paint on the ground to trace someone that has died? In that case they've must have died on a very interesting carpet. Or is it a bunch of one-piece suits in a river bed? Perhaps a group of Dutchmen that has taken a "trip" too much and started to fly? Many questions, no good answers.

My curiosity continues as I read the name of this band - Assemble Head In Sunburst. How do you do that? Are you suppose to await the sound of a sunburst and then start to assemble the head on something? What kind of head? On what sort of thing? Or are you suppose to assemble the head inside the sunburst itself? I can't really say I follow them on this one, actually. The name of the album, though. That's clear as an oil leak. Literarily. It's a word used on many sort of things, like cities, flowers and even a wine sort - but what it means in this context is difficult to say.

Perhaps I'm so curious that I'm reading things in to this that aren't actually there, though. Perhaps titles, band names and cover doesn't mean a shit? But perhaps they mean everything? You might as well understand everything if you just get these detail as you get The Bible by trying to read Curious George. Perhaps the best thing is if I just stop making this review in to some sort of art reading study and actually started to review the music? Perhaps it is, so I'll do that now.

'Manzanita' is an album that feels very hard to grasp. It's very flowing and it feels open for interpretation. On the surface, though, it's a pretty simple and uncomplicated album with synth driven, guitar led songs playing some kind of psychedelic rock. Most of the songs feels basically the same with a pretty hollow sound making a whole lot of sounds without anything aiming to get you attention. I'd rather say that the album leaves everything open for the listener to either take what's given to them or continue going as if nothing ever happened.

I feel the guitars are whats taking most space on 'Manzanita' all though it's mostly the Hammond that keeps forward momentum. Though they take a lot of space, it's no virtuosos we're talking here but an album that have a pretty surrealistic, psychedelic feel and somewhere in all of this it suits the music with plenty of guitars. They leave a lot of space in the sound in which you can put your own interpretations or just let them be and take the music for what it is. They are a bit like Picabias shapes and figures, which I would guess has inspired at least the cover artist. The melodies and flow goes pretty straight to the point and actually aren't that goofy and "progressive" as some bands try their luck with to make it seem more advanced and technical than it actually is. However, I can't really tell if Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound plays the way they do because they have some sort of plan with it or simply because they can't play more goofy and "progressive" but to me it makes no difference. The way I see it it's what they've done I'm suppose to listen to, not what they haven't done.

From what they've done I must say I feel there almost have to be some sort of meaning hidden inside all of this that I probably miss, because if there isn't then 'Manzanita' is a pretty standardized album without much special at all. The music just doesn't have much of significance otherwise and no particular qualities either and the same goes for the songs, vocals and instruments in general. However, if there is that deeper point hidden inside this giant puzzle - some genius musical problem you have to be very smart or very initialized in to understand then it feels a bit like Grieg och Munch - something you can't understand immediately. You have to give it time to understand it and the more you understand it the better it is. But if it is? I can't say, it's hard to make a guess. What I can say, though, is that this album is absolutely okay to listen at. However, if that's all it is - okay - or if it's absolutely amazing… I leave that one open for you, the listener.



Label: Tee Pee Records/Gordeon
Three similar bands: Carlton Melton/Sleepy Sun/The Heads
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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