Review Summary: A shedding of the skin
Last year, Turnover made quite the impact when they gave their sound a complete makeover - abandoning every remaining trace of pop-punk elements in exchange for a dreamy, shoegaze aesthetic. It was a completely different Turnover, but it worked surprisingly well due to the strong songwriting and careful attention to detail. In a similar manner, Somos have begun a glorious transformation with their sophomore effort. They aren't completely tweaking their formula, but First Day Back
is certainly made more potent with some fresh ingredients thrown into the mix. Lush melodies and tender vocals permeate through much of their latest venture into more expansive territory. It's only been two years since they dropped their unexpected debut, and yet they're already beginning to shed their skin with their enthralling sophomore effort on Hopeless Records.
What makes First Day Back
so special are the alluring new components the band have incorporated into their sound without compromising their identity. Take 'Problem Child' for example - it starts out with the expected enthusiastic guitar-intro, but as soon the poignant vocals take hold it becomes something else entirely. With a steady pace and crooning that's as arresting as it is haunting, it's just a glimpse of the fantastic vocal approach that makes this album so intoxicating. 'You Won't Stay' is perhaps the most unique track here, with hypnotizing electronic flourishes and vocalist Michael Fiorentino sounding like he's singing to us through the depths of an abyss. There's something about the vast echo of his voice on this album that seems removed from anything they've done in the past, and it works astoundingly well. Rest assured, the aspects that made Temple of Plenty
such a treat remain prevalent on several tracks here --you can still expect booming choruses and flashy guitar-work glittered throughout the album. The main difference is that this time their sound feels less limited, with influences of shoegaze, electronic, and indie rock melding together in a hazy and satisfying flurry. If there's a downside, it's that the album's often gentle and subdued approach doesn't allow it to reach the cathartic emotional highs the genre is capable of. Instead, it relies heavily on its atmosphere to reel the listener in; hook line and sinker.
In just a couple short years as a band, Somos have already proven themselves to be capable and innovative songwriters. Temple of Plenty
was an emo-rock treat, but First Day Back
is a different monster entirely. Whether it be the captivating beats that kick off the album or the subtle influences of shoegaze and ethereal pop that add extra depth, there's a lot to love about the band's sophomore effort. It's an album that takes its sweet time, utilizing a relaxed pace and meticulous instrumentation to create an exhilarating listening experience. At such an early stage in their career you'd think they'd still be getting their footing down, but Somos have already evolved into one of the more promising bands in the genre.