REVIEW: Somos – ‘First Day Back’

Somos First Day Back

Artist: Somos
Album: First Day Back
Label: Hopeless/No Sleep
Genre: Indie-Punk

On their 2014 debut full-length Temple Of Plenty, Boston, Massachusetts’ Somos brought to the table clean-cut indie-punk anthems that swept many off of their feet. This led to successful tours and their almost-inevitable collaboration with a big indie label like Hopeless Records.

Today the band brings us eleven noticeably more refined indie-punk tracks that those who have supported Somos in the past will enjoy sitting through (though for only a very short period of time). First Day Back was a predictable motion forward for the young four-piece and it inaugurates them into their own recognizable dynamic – one that they made known in 2014. The distinct vocal timbre of their vocalist Michael Fiorentino complements the polished guitars and complaisant drumbeats, calling to mind bands like Weatherbox and Sainthood Reps.

Unlike those two bands, however, whose music settles into your head almost immediately, First Day Back takes its sweet time. Virtually all eleven tracks require your undivided attention before you can fully appreciate its foreground and its background. It isn’t something you can rush through, though its duration of just under thirty minutes may suggest otherwise.

Opener, “Slow Walk To The Graveyard Shift,” is over before it even begins. At a measly 51 seconds this first track, drowned in reverb and despair, sends a haunting two-liner to set the scene. From here the rest of the ride is quick and blurry at first spin. “Violent Decline” is more upbeat than what came before, but also not very lengthy. Tracks like “Thorn In The Side” have you focusing on lyricism more than anything. A pulsating “It should feel good. It does not. How does it feel to be a problem? To be a thorn in the side?” is sent down to echo inside your brain, alongside the album title in context. Baby guitar riffs are also prominent in many tracks, as seen in this. Short bends and licks add a lot of depth to the otherwise very straightforward instrumentation.

Indie film soundtrack material, as made apparent with “Days Here Are Long,” this record is consumed by hazy undertones that make the tracks blend within each other, forming one big collection of dreamy. “Room Full Of People” is a definite favorite, as it brings about a sense of independence from the instruments and makes the back half of the collection come to life. Keeping the dreamy aesthetic in tact, “You Won’t Stay” is a lot like the opener, cueing in the record’s winding down.

In what seems to be the actualization of their call to action about a year ago when frontman Michael Fiorentino opened up about working towards better mental health, we see the band at their most raw yet in “Bitter Medicine.” Lyrically, at this point in the record, the band has made numerous references to the feeling of being “Weighed Down” and an overwhelming sense of defeat: “Keep a brave face on for old time’s sake” and acceptance: “The best thing that could happen is it happens quick. To resist is only to prolong it.”

A sense of salvation in its most partial form is offered through “Lifted From The Current.” Through this track we feel we are allowed some room to finally breathe. It isn’t a full load off, but it feels like a significant enough amount to finally start to keep moving.

“I have waited so long. What is another year? At least I have you here.”

SCORE: 7.5/10

Dana Reandelar
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