Solar Temple Suicides’ debut album mixes hard-edged jam-rock with more psychedelic, spacey music. The Baltimore trio lock in nicely together, creating a strong interplay between drums, bass and guitar. These robust tracks–most go over seven minutes–allow the band time for exploration, something that’s pretty much essential to both psychedelic and jam-oriented music. Fortunately the band members also have enough of a sense of melody to keep songs from flying off of the rails into tedious meandering. Sentinels of the Heliosphere is a pretty decent start for a new instrumental rock band.
Except… Solar Temple Suicides isn’t precisely an instrumental rock band. There are vocals on most of these songs, but they’re buried deep in the mix. The instruments all come through loud and clear, but the singing sounds like it’s coming from way down the hallway, outside of the recording studio. The reason for this may be that guitarist Jon is a terrible singer. It’s tough to tell for sure because the vocals are basically indecipherable, but he can’t seem to hold a tune, let alone a melody. The way the album is mixed it seems like the band is embarrassed by the vocals. Why include them at all if you know it’s that bad?