When Sweet Sleep Returned – Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound

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It’s become somewhat apparent that since Comets on Fire have gone on a sort of hiatus, the world has been lacking really good, fuzzed out psych rock from California. Thankfully, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound have stepped up to the plate with the release of their third LP, and possibly lifted the crown off the sleeping giant’s head.

What really sets these guys apart, and is noted in the opener “Two Stage Rocket”, is their ability to restrain themselves from going to places they cant find their way back from. Instead of long, watered-down “freak-outs”, Assemble Head seems more interested in sounding something like a 70’s Italian horror film with vocal harmonies by the Byrds circa Sweetheart of the Rodeo than some bastard child of the first Stooges record.

They employ this practice through the entire record, as they balance prog-tendancies with Byrds-Buritto Brothers astral Americana and the more out-there guitar work of Neil Young (think “Cortez the Killer” or the Dead Man soundtrack for reference). “Two Birds” is the second song, and finds the groups reaching out to Bay Area newcomers Sleepy Sun for vocal harmonies. The sprawling seven-minute song is the strongest on the album, and it would seem the perfect hymn to lazy days: With it’s looping synthesizer and choral harmonies, the instrumentations never grow stale or overstay their welcome, instead every moment complements the next, and is the perfect segway into what the rest of the album has in store. It’s their Daydream Nation – it’s the Big Sur forest and the hazy San Francisco nights that seem to be the main influence to what might in the end be the finest psych record to come out in 2009.