The Next Generation of San Francisco Psychedelic
The Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound’s latest release Ekranoplan can be summed up in one word, “whoa.” The Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound (AHSS), is a trio of musicians, (Jefferson Marshall, Sunburst 3 a.k.a M.I.K.E. Lardas, and Charlie Saufley), from San Francisco, CA. Ekranoplan, the band’s sophomore release, harkens back to the heyday of the 60s/70s rock music scene with long, trippy songs that consist of guitar solos, heavy but groovy rhythm sections, and calm, poetic vocalsAHSS’s influences are Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. It’s especially evident on the songs ”Summon the Vardig” and ”Message by Mistral” as the spacey guitar is executed with skill and grace over bluesy rhythm sections. There’s also a grungy feel to AHSS’s sound; particularly the song “Occult Roots” thanks to the distorted guitars and fat bass lines used on the song. The AHSS doesn’t try to hide their influences either. With artist Anderson Lanbridge creating brilliant 60s style flyers for the band, AHSS unabashedly embraces their San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury roots. Then they take that influence and create something new with it, similar to the way the White Stripes reintroduced the world to old Led Belly style blues.
This 60s/70s style requires nothing but the most excellent musicianship and AHSS delivers this tenfold. Lead singer Saufley’s voice is reminiscent of Chris Cornell (of Soundgarden and Audioslave fame), with a higher range and casual singing style. Although vocals arenâ€šÃ„Ã´t necessarily the focal point of AHSS’s music, In fact, Saufley doesn’t even sing on the spacey instrumentals in ”Gemini 9” and ‘The Chocolate Maiden,”the guitar work takes center stage. It’s executed flawlessly with melodic, ringing notes layered smoothly over the rhythm. It’s almost as if AHSS doesn’t really require a singer, heading more into ambient mood music. The vocals are just an added instrument that’s used on certain songs like ”Occult Roots”.
For anyone who wants to relax, smoke a joint and talk about philosophy, AHSS’s Ekranoplan is definitely worth checking out.