The People’s Temple : Sons of Stone

<img src="" alt="The People's Temple : Sons of Stone" />The bizarre brains at HoZac Records have dug up something wonderful in the precocious, pressure cooked, psych four-piece out...
The People's Temple : Sons of Stone
7.3 HoZac

The People's Temple : Sons of Stone The bizarre brains at HoZac Records have dug up something wonderful in the precocious, pressure cooked, psych four-piece out of Michigan, The People’s Temple.  Their first full-length release Sons of Stone leans hard on the retro sonic textures, with special attention to the throbbing, percussive fever dreams of the 13th Floor Elevators.  The album is guitar rock, through & through, carving sinewy licks over muscle-bound power chords, reverbed drums, and spindly cosmic, acid-drenched vocals.  Without reinventing the wheel, People’s Temple serves up what is essentially the perfect apprentice album by young musicians lovingly restoring the bygone psych era of music back to life, irony-free and accurate to the point of recreating even the air & ambiance of the old production values.

Namesake track "Sons of Stone" makes two appearances, book-ending the side A of the record: first, as an upward looking psych-gospel howler with a trebly, delay pedal’d lead guitar that rides aloft the rhythm section like a desert hawk surfing hot winds; second, as "Sons of Stone Revisited", a beat-infused reprise of the original juiced up with loops & synth.  The ‘reprise’ is a bit of a dying art these days as upstart electronic musicians have more or less appropriated the entire field of reinterpretation.  Either rock bands fear their compositions are too thin to merit a creative re-examination, or else they are too lazy or timid to tread upon the territory so fiercely guarded by bedroom DJs with bootlegged Ableton software.  Kudos to People’s Temple for ‘taking it back.’

"Visions of the Sun" and "Where You Gonna Go?" fire on poppier pistons, flaunting the sort of sunny hooks and catchy refrains that would have landed a band on the Ed Sullivan show.  The grainy production keeps the sound gritty, like a spotty old recording of The Beatles in their Berlin club phase.  Tart pop melodies run through the ringer of amphetamine-induced haze.  "StarStreamer" heats up the attack with a harder driving, blues-rock onslaught highlighted by a screaming, high-pitched drone that must be the "tape noise" described on album credits.  Gotta love the noise; especially when it’s wielded to such great effect, ratcheting up the panic & tension on the track a few extra notches.

Leadoff track to side B "AxeMan" got love from Bitchspork TV, via some nice basement jam-style video action.  That’s right, the Big Gun has come calling.  But The People’s Temple don’t seem quite ready for prime time: Sons of Stone targets the psych nostalgia bulls-eye all too well – that’s a nice trick for the 30+ crowd, but the real choice demographic is much younger and has less patience for some of the delectable throwback warblings.  People’s Temple should take a page from their fellow HoZac alumni Smith Westerns (QRO photos), dial up the pop factor, and cram that vintage sound into more bite-sized nuggets.  Can lightning strike twice?  Can we get a Dye It Blonde out of People’s Temple?  Nothing is certain in rock ‘n’ roll, but it’s hard not to get excited when you take a glance at the back of the album cover and see a nice distribution in the songwriting credits among the band members.  This isn’t one precocious musician dragging his drinking buddies along for the ride, as you see so often with young bands.  It’s a tight, talented collective with a great sound & boatloads of room to grow.  Consider yourself warned.

MP3 Stream: "Starstreamer"

{audio}mp3/files/The Peoples Temple – Starstreamer.mp3{/audio}


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