SOM – The Shape Of Everything: Album Review

SOM follow 2021’s Awake EP and Billie Ellish cover and head into a new year with an almighty collection of powerful anecdotes.

Release Date: 21st January 2022

Label: Pelagic Records

Format: CD / digital / LP (coloured options)

The gritty and the atmospheric combine in a series of four-minute snapshots in SOM’s The Shape Of Everything. A soundtrack to their ongoing mission to “leave this place better than we found it.” Frontman Will Benoit co-founded the outfit with drummer and former Constants colleague Duncan Rich, as well as Adai founder and now-Caspian man Justin Forrest. While touring The Fall album, the band recruited old friends guitarists Mike Repasch-Nieves and Joel M. Reynolds, both formerly of Junius and Driftoff. It’s that combination that perfects the composition of a collection of epic pieces to form The Shape Of Everything.

The intention was for the group to enter the studio in 2020 to record the follow-up. However, that which must not be named proved the reason to force the band to improvise and record entirely remotely, producing 2021’s luscious Awake EP. Notwithstanding, the process worked; this so-called self-imposed paradigm of minimalism, sees them condense each musical idea to its emotive essence. Don’t expect starkness though – the result is a band that sounds huge; credit for the warm and rich production to Will Benoit himself, literally at the helm with the album recorded, mixed and mastered at his own Radar Studio in Connecticut – New England’s first solar-powered recording facility.

This new workflow redefines SOM’s process, which carried into the completion of the new music. The concise compositions balance gritty riffs with light vocal lines that will appeal to fans of Deftones and Tame Impala alike and are just as primed for rock radio as for shoegaze-loving connoisseurs and fans of the Post Rock shrillness that runs like a seam through the album.

A musically dense morass provides the palette on which the razor-sharp guitar lines skid and cut through from the opening cut, Moment, and into Animals where the vocal provides a contrasting lighter touch. Clocks suggest that there may be a future with single appeal; the melody and easy vocal line combining as the gateway to the greater picture. Those familiar tropes from the Post Rock book of how to do things, all come into play. The shift from dreamy ambience into bold dominance topped off with the ringing guitar tones provide an immersive experience.

At the back end of the record, we’re treated to the mightiest of the monolithic pieces. Heart Attack launches into some hefty bombast; the darkness hinted at by the title, coming in waves of springy and distorted bass while Son Of Winter lumbers like a lazy giant to bring closure.

Pelagic Records are responsible for releasing some mighty fine pieces of work. Emphasis on the work ‘mighty’. The Shape Of Everything adds its weight to an impressive catalogue of Post Rock / Heavy shoegaze / Doom Pop decadence.

Here’s the video for the opening track from the album, Moment:

SOM online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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