CD review

The Honest Hour

By Written by Dustin Glass
Glide Magazine
Friday, September 03, 2004

Reid Genauer is one of those songwriters that seem to have an endless amount of new and imaginative ideas for songs. Just when you start to forget about Genauer's powerfully emotional singing and songwriting, due to a somewhat sporadic touring schedule, he always seems to emerge with a new batch of songs that radiate with originality and creativity. The former Strangefolk co-founder/lead singer and his band "The Assembly of Dust" are back with their sophomore effort, The Honest Hour. Following up their spectacular and finely crafted self-titled debut studio effort, The Honest Hour showcases the Assembly of Dust in the more familiar and looser live setting. Genauer's knack for combining elements of rock, pop, folk and country are apparent from the get-go, as the album's openers "Man With a Plan" and "Harrower" bring Genauer's soulful voice and catchy story-like lyrics to the forefront.

The infectiously catchy "Paul Henry" stands out as one of the album's strongest points with an emotional story that weaves its way through a bouncy rhythm. "Honey Creeper" finds guitarist Adam Terrell's growling wah sweeps paving the way on one of the album's more energetic and funk-laden tunes. Along with seven new original songs penned for the Assembly of Dust, Reid revisits the Strangefolk classics "Roads" and "Speculator" with Percy Hill alumni Nate Wilson and John Leccese, on keys and bass respectivley, carving out their own niche in these familiar songs.

While the A.O.D. certainly does these songs justice, newer live favorites such as "Stone Choir" or "Zero to the Skin" would've been a better fit on the album. Genauer offers up a taste of bouncy bluegrass with "Bus Driver," a fast paced tune that can easily pose as an outtake from Strangefolk's 2000 release Weightless in Water.

While The Honest Hour is a fine sampling of Genauer's latest batch of creativity, the album comes across as mix of new songs pulled from live recordings, rather than the one solid live performance it was originally recorded from. While the album features some very strong material, it is somewhat of a disappointment in comparison to their dazzling debut studio album.