Solstice Coil is an Israeli band that released their new album “Commute” via Taklit Music which is the label belonging to Tomer Pink of Subterranean Masquerade. Solstice Coil is the project of Subterranean Masquerade keyboardist Shai Yallin. Since I absolutely LOVE Subterranean Masquerade’s latest album “The Great Bazaar,” I figured this album would follow suit.
While I do like parts of “Commute,” there are a few issues with it that I personally don’t care much for. The good news? The music sounds great, especially Yallin’s keyboards! Whether it’s his piano work on the “New Eyes” or the really cool synth riff on “Forget You Ever Saw Us” or the awesome solo on “Shuffle the Cards” or the mellotron on “An Oldie” (which is my favorite track), he is clearly the star of the show. But that is taking nothing away from guitarist Opher Vishnia who shines through out the album. Add in an exceptional rhythm section of bassist Mihael Galperin and drummer Yakir Fitousi and you have a very solid group of players.
So the bad news? Well I haven’t mentioned vocalist Shir Deutch yet. The problem for me is that I am not keen on the tone of Deutch’s voice and he often sounds quite “pitchy.” Whether it’s his style or not, he sounds like he is just under a note many times and is flat. Not being a singer myself, maybe that’s just how he sounds. But for me, when he is either over emoting or trying to hit certain notes, it just doesn’t quite work.
On the plus side, I think his performance on “Shuffle the Cards” is his best. He is staying well within his range and not over singing. But complicating matters for me is that his vocals are often too far up in the mix which just underscores the issues I’ve mentioned. While I am talking about the mix, I think the drums could be a bit larger too. Many times things fell a little tight and not big enough.
For me, “Commute” is a mixed bag. I do think many people will like Shir Deutch’s voice so I think it might just be personal preference as far as his tone and style. Musically, “Commute” is well executed and enjoyable. Maybe expecting another Subterranean Masquerade was a bad idea, but I think that was inevitable.
1. New Eyes
2. Forget You Ever Saw Us
3. Shuffle the Cards
4. Her Silent Silhouette
6. The Bargain
7. Acid Bath
9. An Oldie (But Your Kids are Gonna Love It)
Label: Taklit Music