Okay, I'm not going to beat around the bush on this review. Here's the story, plain and simple: Somerset will be your new favorite band.
The band, made up of four kids from the Minneapolis area, contains Claudio, drummer of the much-maligned and underappreciated Flipsyde. Right away this earns major points in my book, as Claudio's drumming [and back up singing] was impeccable both when I saw Flipsyde live and on their CD. So before I even popped this in, I knew from a drumming standpoint I'd be more than satisfied.
What I didn't know was just how satisfied I'd be with the rest of the band, too. The band's sound would be one of the borderline emo/punk style that is more or less sweeping the nation nowadays. But where most bands popping up in your hometown sound stale and repetitive, Somerset breaks through the mold with catchy hooks, excellent dual guitars, and amazing lyrics. A sampling from my favorite track on the EP, "Colors Of Insomnia:"
"Rape me and my conviction / sedate me more and more / so I can't see their shoresTheir sound might be along the lines of so many other late 90s emo/post-hardcore bands, their lyrics are obviously not just about girls and heartbreak. These guys know their shit.
Take what you were not given / from those you could not scare / World police for peace or global conquest?"
They're also just amazing songwriters for this early on in their career. "The Victim: Animated" is a solid 4 minute adventure through hook after powerful hook. You get powerful lead vocals from singer Forrest, a yelled "One Two Three Four One Two Three Four," you get time changes from 4/4 into 6/8, you get a ridiculously cool guitar outro [best enjoyed with a good pair of headphones] - it's really the best of what the emo-punk scene can offer right now.
Now of course the band isn't perfect. I mean, this is their debut EP, how good could just these 5 short songs be? Well, let me tell you - this isn't greatness, but I'm almost shocked at how damn close it comes. The vocal harmonies are what most bands would kill for, the musicianship displayed by all four of these youngsters is what makes other bands' jaws drop, and the overall groove of the group is second to none. Look for big, big things in the future from Somerset - the word on the street is many a label [both major and indie] are scouting them out. This is one of those bands you'll see those guys on absolutepunk.net be raving about in a few months [but don't hold that against them].
The elevator is on the ground floor, and I'm holding the door open for you. All you need to do is step inside and trust me. Once those doors shut, you're going to be in for the ride of your life with this band.
The Victim: Animated