Somerset Thrower - Paint My Memory (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Somerset Thrower

Paint My Memory (2020)

Dead Broke/Triple B

Somerset Thrower’s Paint My Memory sits in the crosshairs of ‘90s alt-rock and the more driven side of ‘90s emo, inhabiting the same gritty but ambitious space of bands like Samiam, Gameface, Seaweed and Farside (maybe even Jawbreaker at times?). Like those acts, Somerset Thrower have a bit of strain and gravel in the vocal department, but they also have a bold and big sound despite the smaller label budgets. Paint My Memory sounds so big sometimes with its unrelenting energy and wailing guitars (coming in hard on opener and leadoff single “Too Rich to Die”), one often gets the “Could this have been on the radio in 1995 á la A Boy Named Goo?” wonderment the band’s Dead Broke Rekerds almamater Beach Slang spurred with their first two EPs on the label.

The Long Island band formed somewhere around 2013 issuing a demo and eventually an EP, a single, and a split (with fellow LIers, the Sainthood Reps-related Mouth) before finally unleashing the equally promising Godspeed LP just two years ago. Despite the consensus, their sophomore full-length here seems like a huge step forward and easily their best stuff yet as they truly forge their own identity here despite the influences and clear musical grounding.

Let’s be real: This is a sound that has really not carried over to younger generations at all -- you’d be hard-pressed to expect “Losing Skin” go viral in a TikTok video anytime soon. Hell, in my mid-30s, this style of punk is probably a bit before my time, even. But there’s a case to be made that Somerset Thrower has progressed to a point where they do this sound so well, it has some deserved crossover appeal for anyone still digging straightforward guitar music in 2020.

Excellent standout “Lucky You” bears that signature mix of uptempo energy and melancholic sheen that should definitely appeal to Texas Is the Reason heads. There’s a bit of TItR in the more balladic closer “Say Hello”, too. But Paint My Memory is largely fairly unique despite its well-worn sound, with some subtle variance from track to track. “4:22” has some nifty tempo changes while “Takeyouapart” slows it down just a skosh. “Accelerate Now” has a really nice yearning to it that curiously contrasts its otherwise upbeat vibe.

Frontman Tom Sheehan of the band’s Brooklyn neighbors Indecision kicks off “Plaster Saint“ with his screaming, and the changeup in abrasion actually works pretty well, especially when they ease up with the lighter moments. The band further sew their New York/Long Island roots with a subtle similarity to the rough-hewn style of their emo forefathers Garden Variety.

All told, this is an excellent sophomore effort that shouldn’t fly under the radar the way as much as it is.