When I was going to go to Riot Fest a few years ago, I spent some time with some of the bands down the lineup, to see how late I could justify getting in on any given afternoon. SOMOS were the earliest band that I was willing to consider: they were local boys, from Boston, and their Temple of Plenty intrigued me quite a bit upon giving it a listen, so upon hearing the band was putting out a new album, I had to get in there and give it a spin. That’s one magic thing about this experiment: the albums I come across that have must-hear potential, I all of a sudden have a reason to fit them in.
First Day Back is a quick listen at that, and as that goes, it’s worth the listen, but the songs do not necessarily hook one to want to go back. There are no shortage of lovely bits to the songs here, like the breakdown of “Thorn in the Side” or the outro of “Room Full of People.” Then again, the first three full-length tracks could be interchangeable. It’s a solid turn of the century emo style album and all… you’d hear this over the speakers at some club and be pretty much ok with it, from the shimmering intro of “Violent Decline” to the rolling drums of “Lifted From the Current,” in and of themselves probably the album highlights. Sitting down alone with it, however, is a disappointment. There are tracks that don’t even feel complete, like the super-early fade-out of “Days Here Are Long” or the expansive “You Won’t Stay” getting truncated at only 2 minutes. The album was so surprising that I actually went back to Temple of Plenty, and I was more surprised still that the album sounded, well, just like one would expect from the band that put out First Day Back. I have no clue where my faulty memory of the album came from, but these are two albums cut from similar cloth.
Let us pause just a minute as well to speak of the just-a-minute worth of “Slow Walk to the Graveyard Shift”. It’s worth speaking of because of how the sparseness of the track, the distant-piano sounds, the hums of sound, set the track up to have the best mood out of the entire album, and yet it ends so quickly. A full album starting with a full “…Graveyard Shift” could have been a very different beast. Interesting how that works… glimmers of promise can fade into nothing, but at least we had the glimmer.