Founded at the beginning of this millennium as a trio consisting of Michael Lardas, Jefferson Marshall and Charley Saufley, this San Fransisco based “Post Psych” act has since grown to a septet due to the addition of multi-instrumentalists Camilla Saufley and Anderson Landbridge (actually a Theremin and synth specialist), and harmony singers Brett Constantino and Evan Reese (the latter both of SF act Sleepy Sun). Following the self-release of the band's limited edition (only 500 copies were made) self-titled 2005 debut album, the band signed to the Tee Pee Records roster, and have since gone on to release Ekranoplan in 2007 and When Sweet Sleep Returned in 2009.
Depending on the reviewer and album, the band's music has had several and slightly different descriptions, including “...improbable mix of Raga, Canned Heat, sci-fi sounds, and Black Flag...” (San Francisco Bay Guardian), “...a real nice slab of contempo psych, but with Floydian star-clusters in some sections and others that are more like the vibe Crystalized Movements used to hit in their shorter, Rockier songs...” (Arthur), “...the band gives all the familiar old Blue Cheer/ Floyd/ Elevators touchstones another thunderous and sympathetic throttle...” (Pitchfork), “...The San Francisco group draw from fecund sources of hirsute, high-times motivators such as Amon Düül II, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, and the colourful triumvirate of Deep Purple, Blue Cheer, and Black Sabbath...Ekranoplan toggles between cavernous chaos and meditative meandering, like many of the finest Psych Rock albums ever done, from the '60s onward...” (The Seattle Stranger), and “AHISS rip through Stooges-style thuggery, the fried Garage-Pop of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, and dusty Neil Young melancholy...” (SF Weekly). What one can distill from that, is that this band plays a mind-altering Psychedelic Rock which occasionally puts great importance in the keyboards (be they Wurlitzer-styled electric piano, Theremin synth, or HammondB3-type organs). When those keyboards are absent. In my own opinion, the early '70s styled Psych Rock has some elements of early Heavy Metal, but also of the late '60s Acid Rock scene...and in the case of second track “(Gone) 'Round The Corner, the band even goes Country Psych! Vocally, there is indeed a great melancholy, but not quite Neil Young...rather something more modern...and a lot of it is actually bi-vocal!
I guess one way to sum it all up, would be to use the words at the band's Wikipedia page : “AHISS is a soundtrack for strange days and futures bright and bleak. But there is also a crooked run backward through every Assemble Head record – the celestial trajectories of The Notorious Byrd Brother and circa '70 Floyd; the dusty canyon stomps of Crazy Horse, slashing action pop of the savage young The Who, Italian bastardizations of Lalo Schifrin cop movie scores, and the scuzz-bomb shrapnel of latter-day Garage mongers like Mudhoney and Monoshock. At any rate, a very nice album indeed!