The release of Somos’ third album, Prison on a Hill, was anything but conventional.
After the unexpected passing of guitarist Phil Haggerty, the Boston rock outfit rushed the record up for sale on Bandcamp on August 12, with all proceeds supporting towards the family’s funeral expenses.
What Somos delivered is undoubtedly their biggest, bravest and best album to date.
Expanding on their emo/indie rock sound, the band adds synths that amplify frontman Michael Fiorentino’s sharp lyrics about immigration, government oppression and grief. At times the band takes on power-pop/new-wave stance, with driving guitars, lively synths and arena-sized percussion complementing Fiorentino’s steady voice.
Prison on a Hill is filled to the brim with great songs and memorable choruses (see: “Untraceable Past” and “Mediterranean”), but the album’s—and the band’s—best song has to be “My Way to You.”
The song’s unexpected but welcome use of synth gives way to the most catchiest, anthemic hooks of 2019, and it’s impossible not to think of Haggerty when Fiorentino sings: “All at once step forward and come claim your prize / Thank you for the best years of your precious life.”
Prison on a Hill is simultaneously cathartic and invigorating, and it deserves significantly more attention than it received this year.
Score: 💔💔💔💔💔 / 5