First Day Back

Written by: PP on 19/06/2016 22:40:10

Back in 2014, Somos came seemingly out of nowhere with a brilliant pop punk meets alternative rock opus, "Temple Of Plenty". It echoed all the right sentiments from their UK counterparts Lower Than Atlantis with just enough punk undertones and upbeat emo melodies to appeal to a wide spectrum of listeners, earning them a multitude of high-ranking positions in "bands to watch" charts across webzines covering this type of music. A lot of pressure for the sophomore album "First Day Back", which has unfortunately resulted in an insecure album that displays Somos in a state of confusion about their identity.

In short, "First Day Back" is more fluffy. It's way more polished. The most somber moments of "Temple Of Plenty" are now prime time elements on the new album. A sense of tranquility and relaxed instrumentation have replaced the subdued urgency and snappy melodies of yesteryear, with the record primarily relying on the vocals as its highlight as the instrumentals follow a largely minimalistic role this time around. As a result, "First Day Back" takes a whole lot longer to absorb than "Temple Of Plenty" ever did, given the almost complete absence of pop punk and its replacement, an overload on indie/minimalist pop. Yes, "Violent Decline" is a great song and contains lyrical gems like "There are no refugees from a victimless crime, this I know". Yes, "Thorn In The Side" is subtly catchy as is "Problem Child". Yes, "Reminded/Weighed Down" is fairly upbeat. But are they enough to keep the listener interested for the duration of the album, and more importantly, beyond that?

Having spent a good few weeks with the album contemplating the above, I'm inclined to say no. The songs are too subdued, too laid back, lacking too much in energy to stick with you for prolonged periods of time. The "wow, that was catchy" factor of "Temple Of Plenty" isn't there, and while the songs are still decent, they are rarely better than that. There just isn't enough happening in the songs, and what's worse, many of them feel lifeless.

Since this is essentially emo, that would be fine, as long as the feeling of lifelessness would borderline despair and loss of hope. Instead, we get something in the middle: a lackluster, apathetic feeling where it's difficult to gauge what the band actually wanted to achieve here. I keep thinking that this is a sound that translates into things like forced and unnatural, as if the band didn't really want it to come out like this but it did anyway. Disappointing.


Download: Violent Decline, Thorn In The Side, Problem Child
For the fans of: Turnover, Lower Than Atlantis
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.02.2016
Hopeless Records

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