Assembly of Dust
First Appeared in The Music Box, March 2007, Volume 14, #3
Written by John Metzger
Lurking beneath the surface of The Honest Hour, there were hints that Reid Genauer, principal songwriter behind Assembly of Dust, was a devotee of Jackson Browne, David Crosby, and countless other ’70s-oriented folk-pop artists. The concert recording was so enveloped in jam band pretension, however, that its better moments were difficult to discern amidst the sea of meandering arrangements that the group deployed. In that sense, returning to the studio for its latest effort Recollection was a wise move, and the result is a focused endeavor that fulfills the promise that previously was hidden.
For the record, Assembly of Dust still adheres too diligently to the paths that were paved by its predecessors, but the manner in which it folds the appropriated constructs together shows that the ensemble is on the verge of taking its work to a new level. Opening cut Grand Design bears hints of both the Allman Brothers Band and Steely Dan; Beatle-esque harmonies cling to Zero to the Skin; and Telling Sue bridges the gap that divides the Grateful Dead, America, and Pure Prairie League. On 40 Reasons, Assembly of Dust recycles the classic material on Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush and Harvest, and on Samuel Aging, Dire Straits and Yes are intertwined. There’s little doubt that Recollection is dotted with an overabundance of musical quotes, and while they are well planned, well executed, and fun to identify, they also seem to be holding Assembly of Dust back from achieving bigger things.
Still, there’s something about Recollection that is irresistible, and it all stems from the precision of its production. Working in conjunction with Josh Pryor, Assembly of Dust found a way of perfectly balancing its penchant for improvisation with its commercial aspirations. Although the songs are polished considerably, they aren’t constricted in their ability to breathe, which, in turn, allows the band’s strengths — its impeccable musicianship and its indelible melodies — to collide in a thoroughly enjoyable fashion. While Recollection hardly paints rock ’n‘ roll in a new light, it does contain a solid batch of songs that not only sets the stage for Assembly of Dust’s future but also ought to win a larger following for the group.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box