Somos: Temple Of Plenty

Listening to this record, the words “pop punk” emerge blatantly throughout, yet they never manage to capture more than half of this band’s sound. At its core, the album is exactly that— short, punchy alternative songs; but their sound is too melodic, their guitar work too bright, and the vocal delivery too emotionally refined not to acknowledge the odd infusion with indie rock that has been taking over the genre. What sets this album apart is that the boundary between the two genres is never quite established.

Somos’ full-length debut is a puzzling work of ambiguity. Contemporary punk outfits like The Menzingers and Wyldlife have indulged in similar bittersweetness recently. Still, it is easy to see the prevalent genre in their records, or at least what is driving what in the song. However, Temple Of Plenty is too equally versed in both DIY edginess and mellow melodies to let anything take over. Songs like “Dead Wrong” and “Life Of Others” are perfect examples of this, with slow, ringing guitars taking turns with driving rhythm and delivery. The rest of the album continues in this style, with a mixture of these elements and a slow-fast-slow pattern followed throughout.

Yet for all its duality, the elements thrown in don’t necessarily blend in properly or seamlessly, and tend to occupy the same song without complementing or stylistically altering the other. This ultimately offsets the mood and makes it impossible to really absorb from either side. Adding to this is the album’s similar structure and vocal delivery throughout, leaving little room for redemption in this regard, and becoming slightly monotonous by the end. All in all, Somos have produced a respectable debut with a curious addition of elements and a mastery of both to be sure, but which comes through individually, not through their attempted fusion.

In A Word: Mixed