ASSEMBLY OF DUST
Some Assembly Required
(ROCK RIDGE MUSIC)
[Rating: 3.5 stars]
Not just another jam band, Assembly of Dust is powered by the eloquent songwriting of lead singer/acoustic guitarist Reid Genauer. Known for their energetic, freewheeling performances, the group recorded a number of live albums before releasing the studio disc Recollection in 2007. AOD’s second studio effort features star collaborators—such as Martin Sexton, Keller Williams, Mike Gordon, Richie Havens and Bela Fleck—on each track, giving Genauer’s sometimes dark Americana-themed lyrics an extra kick.
While lead guitarist Adam Terrell, bassist John Leccese and drummer Andy Herrick remain in the band, former keyboardist Nate Wilson actually co-produced Some Assembly Required, leaving AOD a quartet. And keys take a backseat to guitars throughout—Phish’s Mike Gordon adds a mean bass to the psychedelic “Arc of the Sun,” Moe’s Al Schnier shreds on rocker “High Brow,” and banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck works his magic on the hypnotic “Edges.”
Sounding more Wilco alt-country than Dead jam band on many tunes, AOD know how to incorporate their friends and heroes without losing their own straightforward vision. And hearing the voice of Richie Havens or Grace Potter is a welcome contrast to Genauer’s Neil Young-esque vocals. The Southern-tinged, summery feel of days that are “peeling hot” remain. But as Greg Ginn (Black Flag) points out in the liner notes, AOD’s music has “considerable fire-power simmering under the surface.”