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 Youngs After the Gold Rush and Harvest, and on Samuel Aging,
Dire Straits and Yes are intertwined. Theres 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, theres 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 arent constricted in their ability to breathe,
which, in turn, allows the bands 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 Dusts future but also ought to win a larger following for the group.