• Sat, Dec 10, 2022
Reviews

SOHM Contemplates, Well, Everything On His New Album

8.0

album Reviews Oct 11, 10:46pm

It’s self-titled and features some songwriting that isn’t afraid to improve on a solid base

SOHM is from Nepal and is based in the States at the current moment. His life started out playing metal and rock (those good old subcontinental staples), but you wouldn’t necessarily know that from his all-over-the-shop new album ‘Sohm’ (in the music biz, this is called ‘Self-titled’). There is forty minutes of music here that goes everywhere from acoustic indie songwriting to piano ballads to jauntier rom-com film soundtrack-type material. This is music that someone that has exposed themselves to all sorts of movements and cultures would make during a pandemic and contains opinions on self, the world and everything in between. It’s good stuff.

Sohm’s main tool of choice here is actually just the indie staple of an acoustic guitar. That and his clean singing voice carry basically every main idea on the album’s twelve tracks. Now, does that mean it’s a dreary, bleak look on the outside world? Or is it a cheerful, sunny ol’ thing that will probably land on the next iPhone ad? Well, one would say it’s neither, and that is purely due to its measured, almost reined-in writing. There aren’t many risks being taken here, and thus, almost all of it lives in a place we all find very, very comfortable. There’s also the aspect of really clean and warm production, which absolutely helps. It’s one of those things that make an imaginary cup of tea appear in the listener’s hand as it were. So would a lot of the songs on here.

 

 

One could put the material on ‘Sohm’ into a few places. There’s your contemplative, plaintive and actually rather wistful balladry of the opener ‘In The Morning’. The piano on this tune is especially delightful and is used exactly as much as it, well, should be. ‘For You’ applies the same recipe to themes of relationships with quiet, bashful results. His vocals range from arena-pop crooning to a more upfront delivery on moments like the surprisingly bitter ‘War Will Never End’, which combines the completely opposite themes of aggression with the piano and banjo of certain sections of Western popular folk music. It’s got a shout chorus, of all things; it is at times like this when Sohm is at his inventive best. ‘Cold Brew’ has the innocent air and playful lyricism of a 2005 romantic film about college love and that scene where someone is driving down a nice road in a truck. There are pivots all over the album, and perhaps the most interesting of them all is the closer ‘Soothsayer’, which combines pop with the air of a spaghetti western, somehow. Again, it’s unexpected, melds together two things that don’t intuitively live together, and does it with style and grace.

This is absolutely where ‘Sohm’ and SOHM succeed on this project, and this is what will bring you back to the album for repeat servings. His voice is a bit raw at times and his subject matter is sometimes more woolly than striking, but these actually contribute to a sense of comfort that some would enjoy. For everyone else, this is an indie album that stands out in a more subtle way than you might think.

 

Listen here.

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