April 6 2011 12:00 AM

'Sons of Stone' is the band's auspicious debut release


Upon hearing the opening crystalline guitar chords of The People’s Temple’s anthemic title track of the band’s debut album, “Sons of Stone” (HoZac Records), you know something different is brewing in the musical waters of Lansing.

The People’s Temple has concocted an album that combines all the coolest influences of any music geek’s record collection.

Throughout the 14-track album the group deftly mixes the sounds of mid-1960s West Coast psychedelic trailblazers Love, early-1980s Echo & the Bunnymen (especially the 1984 album “Ocean Rain” and the guitar work of Will Sergeant), the eclectic jangle of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and the shoegazing drone of Jason Pierce and his first unit, Spaceman 3.

Two sets of brothers (Spencer and William Young and Alex and George Szegedy) hailing from the Lansing and Perry area have been wood-shedding their sound for the better part of three years, and the results committed to tape are astounding. Another distinguishing trait of their album is the timeless, organic sounding production. There is dust on the mixing board and dissonant murkiness; no Pro- Tools here.

Other influences run rampant as the album spins. The “fake” crowd noise on the galloping “Star Streamer” recalls the canned reactions on the Rolling Stones’ “Got Live If You Want It!” and James Brown’s second “Live At The Apollo” album. Spencer Young’s lead vocal turn on the tune “Axe Man” summons an evil-sounding David Bowie, while the closest “Sons of Stone” comes to a ballad, “Never Really (Saw Me Coming Round),” is cavernous and tender.

The scorching “Miles Away” tips its cap to the Motor City with lyrics that point to a desire to burn rubber out of town. Of course, the key to any solid album is how it closes, and The People’s Temple delivers a jittery, yet tempered salvo in “The Surf.” The guitars are menacing, the rhythm section is coiled and steady.

Within the notes of “Sons of Stone” lies huge promise for this gifted quartet. Its live act should not be missed, and this album should not receive short shrift.

People’s Temple: ’Sons of Stone’ release show with Jason
Alarm and The Dolphins 5 p.m. Saturday, April 9 Mac’s Bar 2700 E.
Michigan Ave., Lansing All ages $6 (517) 484-6795