What you had is never coming back. Looking back to a simpler time, familiar faces you could recognize.
It’s with these bitingly sad yet true lyrics that Somos kick off their debut album properly with an emotional tug at the heart. I mean, will we ever really be able to regain that freeing feeling of youth? These sort of topics make me incredibly distraught, but also allow me to reflect on and appreciate the times I had in those simpler days. When I was younger, I’d take a road trip to my aunts every summer with my brother and my cousins. Once we arrived, it wasn’t long before our faces were stuffed with greasy pizza and our eyes were wide from a sugar and caffeine overload. To accompany our binge of junk-food was an enormous stack of movies we rented from the video store down the street. No, we weren’t completely lazy; during the day we could be found skateboarding all over town or diving into the local swimming pool. Those were some of the most memorable days of my life, and even though I can’t ever relive those moments, Temple of Plenty
acts as a time machine to those carefree summers.
However, Temple of Plenty
is also about adapting to life’s harsher circumstances. In ‘Lifeline’ the band asks Could you watch your friends turn into your enemies, could you watch your home become a cold street?
Other tracks such as ‘The Strangest Example’ examine our society and how people don’t really talk to each other anymore as the vocalist asks the question How many people do you look at? How many people do you really see? We could talk about anything, but we talk about the weather.
It may be a harsh change of scenery from the nostalgic feel of the opening track, but the band does an excellent job of telling an emotional story through each individual song.
For such a young band, Somos sound more like seasoned veterans of the emo/punk genre as they deliver nine easily digestible tracks. Despite being rather accessible, the songs have more than enough substance to warrant return visits. Michael Fiorentino’s vocal performance is crisp and effective; sounding like a cross between Balance and Composure and The Hotelier, but with enough originality to stand out on its own. He’s accompanied by the dual guitar-work courtesy of Phil Haggerty and Justin Hahn who provide that extra kick to the band’s sound. The drumming is also downright fantastic, far exceeding most bands in the genre and adding depth to nearly every track. ‘Domestic’ is a prime example of Somos’ undeniable talent; starting off with Fiorention’s strong vocal performance and light guitar flourishes before Evan Deges kicks the drumming into full force, completely destroying it behind the kit. I could go on and on with various examples, but it really needs to be heard to be fully appreciated. There’s often so much going on instrumentally, although subtle, that you’ll still be discovering little touches you didn’t notice before even after a dozen listens.
When all is said and done, Temple of Plenty
has everything I could ask for from a record in this particular genre. It has emotionally stimulating lyrics, the instrumentation is top-notch for its style, and there’s virtually no filler to be found. Not only is it one of the best debuts you’ll hear all year, it’s likely to be one of the most enjoyable releases altogether. Whether the band is reminding you of the days of your youth, or giving you a crutch to lean on during rough times, they don’t seem to miss a beat on their first effort. I’m not sure if they’ve learned a thing or two from their label-mates The Hotelier, or if the they’ve just been slaving away at this album night and day. Either way, they’re sure as hell doing something right on their effortlessly enjoyable debut, and it shouldn’t be missed.