By Written by Brian Robbins
July 20, 2009
Assembly of Dusts new album, Some Assembly Required, comes off sounding like a mix tape of heroes and friends that Reid Genauer and company have put together only AOD is on every track, as well.
Some Assembly Required is a good album. Is it a good Assembly of Dust album? I cant tell you that. By virtue of them being such generous hosts, AOD have almost set their own voice aside for this one at times content to simply be the greatest back-up band in the land.
For instance, its hard to imagine the album-opening All That I Am Now without Richie Havens granted, its Andy Herricks drums driving the thing and Genauer leading the way vocally, but in the end, the band somehow morphs itself into Havens big ol fretting thumb, pounding picking hand, and powerful voice. It might have been Assembly of Dust in the studio, but its Richie Havens soul coming out of the speakers.
Take your pick: want some classic John Scofield guitar? Borrowed Feet is the perfect vehicle. How about a dose of quirky Mike Gordon psychedelia? Arc of the Sun may have been on AOD setlists for a while, but on Some Assembly Required its all about the bass, my friend. Tony Rice does some of his best flatpicking of recent vintage on Light Blue Lover and Revelry. (And yes, that is Martin Sextons voice in the background on the latter – not some weirdly distorted electric violin.) Edges is made perfect with Bela Flecks banjo; Jerry Douglas dobro does the same on Leadbelly, as does David Grismans mando on Cold Coffee. The Dust is there, but theyre absolute gentlemen when it comes to playing with others almost losing their own voice in the process, it seems.
Then again, maybe this is the voice of the post-Nate Wilson AOD the keyboardists departure cant help but change the musical personality of the band. Some Assembly Required may be the best way possible for the group to get its bearings, try out some ideas, and see where they want to go and make some good music in the meantime.
Well see where the Assembly of Dust goes from here. In the meantime, enjoy the mix tape.