This St. Louis-area group's debut album is filled with radio-friendly rock and pop songs, notably the leadoff track, "Shelter," which resembles Matchbox Twenty inspired by Linkin Park. Lead singer Ryan Jordan leads the proceedings on most of the album, with satisfactory guitar work by both Andrew Dwiggins and Marc Wanniger. But in some cases, the overall sound sounds a trace over-produced for its own good, moving into a territory only Def Leppard would be capable of pulling off. "Sustain You" and "Breathe" are lyrically quite good, but the arrangements are a bit soft in the middle leading to the chorus. The strings added to the latter song are subtle but take the song to a different level. The strong hooks on arena rockers like "Strong" and the infectious "Louder Than Words" should please listeners, resembling a softer Incubus at times. Too often, though, the arrangements sound too similar for the album's overall benefit, particularly on "Faces," which has shades of each song before it. "Dim Halo" is probably the best track of the dozen offered, twisting between emotional rock and arena rock ballads. "Radiance" is another heavy rock ballad, but a refreshing change to the other songs and the frameworks of each. A few songs with a different change of pace or tempo would help, but overall it's a step in the right direction.
Soma Holiday Review
by Jason MacNeil