Even if Soma pulled their name from the Strokes song off Is This It? while also hailing from New York, the band gains some reprieve for not sounding like another garage rock knock-off. Actually, the young group owes more to The Verve, New Order, The Cure, and Joy Division than to any fashionably un-fashionable “it” bands of the moment. Their debut EP, New Life, aims for a sound directly centered between the aforementioned influences and shows potential; but it also sounds naïve. It’s obvious that they need some experience and growth to sharpen their skills.
They say one of the faults of young writers is that they spell everything out boldly; the lack of subtlety questions the audience’s ability to read between the lines. Soma’s singer Skye Nicolas does the same on the EP’s four tracks, straining his voice to make evident the emotions he’s trying to convey. Instead, the band would be better served to hold back and let whatever message is being expressed unfold more slowly—the songs themselves are strong enough melodically, proving Soma has ability. The EP’s large, echoic production and brooding atmosphere put Soma ahead of the young pack of indie bands who don’t quite understand the nuances of recording, and the fact that the band recorded the EP mostly live with few overdubs makes the production even more impressive.
A proper full-length will give a better indication of what type of a band Soma really is. For now, they’ll get an incomplete, with an “A” for effort.
This EP is only available as a free mp3 download from insidesoma.com.