(Photos by Nick Karp)
There's no denying the enormity of Somos' 2012 demo—a four-song introduction whose epitomizing moment occurs during the final thirty seconds of the first track when the instruments snuff themselves out and singer Michael Fiorentino's otherwise steely voice rises into a serious, startling roar. By the time the band rebuilds itself for a final chorus, Somos has already established itself as an explosive, fiery monster that leaves its listeners smoldering.
It is no surprise, then, that Somos' debut full-length, Temple of Plenty, is more enormous and more powerful than its predecessor, though they replace the scorching, sharp chords with a smoother, more expansive sound. The guitars on "Familiar Theme", for example, are clean, plucked in spinning patterns and strummed in vibrant, wavering chords—that is, until the chorus, when guitarists Phil Haggerty and Justin Hahn step on the distortion. Even then, their instruments are fully fleshed-out, enormous not because of their crunch but because of their breadth. "Dead Wrong" literally bounces, its elasticity derived from the drumming, which is deceptively complex and solid, but also the rhythm of Fiorentino's lyrics. Here, again, the weight of this third song comes not from overdrive or volume or some superficial production trick, but from its beat and dripping guitars, from Fiorentino's firm singing style—from the songwriting itself.
Maybe the epitomizing moment on Temple of Plenty occurs on "Strangest Example", a song that appears in a different form on the band's demo. It's easy to feel the full one-two punch of the kick drum and the cavernous crack of his snare; trace the guitar as it winds like a vine and flowers at the end of each phrase; and, when the song climbs into its chorus, immerse oneself in the expansive, overlapping layers of melody and momentum. This re-imagining of "Strangest Example"—and, admittedly, Temple of Plenty's entirety—possesses the same power expressed on the band's 2012 demo, but it's derived from depth and finesse and the sort of velvet execution that will make Somos' first full-length one of the most impressive debuts that's likely to be released this year.
- Dane Erbach
Somos - Temple Of Plenty LP/CD
2014 · Tiny Engines · TE129