Title: The Garden
Release Date: 10/4/11
Reviewer: Josh Hamm
- Gentle Slope
- Fall In Love
- Wake Up
- The Garden
- Autumn Leaves
- More In Us
Sosaveme is another of those aggressive indie rock groups in the same vein as My Epic or SONS. They’re not a copycat group though, this four piece from Michigan is a force to be reckoned with. The Garden is just their second full length release, but the group has been making music and touring since 2005. The first thing you notice is the vibrant energy of the group. Nothing feels forced or tired, even if it’s not always original material, they approach it with a passion and authenticity which is hard to ignore.
What you hear is what you get, sosaveme’s music delivers solid, hard hitting straight up rock with better than average lyrics. The vocals are very prominent, and they have to be, to be heard above the loud guitars and drums. They sound remarkably similar to those of High Flight Society, but not quite as nasal. Nicholas Pidek’s got a pleasant tone which sounds just as good in quiet whispers or piercing shouts. The rest of the instruments – guitars, bass, drums – do their job adequately, there’s nothing wrong with them but they aren’t absolutely brilliant either.
The album starts off strong with “Gentle Slope,” which seems like typical generic relationship subject matter, but it’s a surprisingly bleak and dark twist in content and is also sure to be a crowd pleaser musically. It never truly lets up throughout, the music is full speed ahead throughout, and although each song may have its own quiet moment of lyrical profundity, there’s a reason that this is labeled “rock.” If SONS’s Keep Quiet was too soft for many listeners, this is its harder, heavier cousin.
I do think that there are a few problems limiting The Garden from being elevated above being just another good indie rock album. Although the lyrics have moments of sheer brilliance in phrasing, on the whole they are a hit or a miss, some songs fizzle out without ever reaching their potential while others shine incredibly bright.
What I find more of an issue personally is the overall dark and pessimistic tone of the album. I greatly enjoy and can relate to confessions of doubt and struggle, and they have a place, but I find that there’s too much negativity without the hope of redemption or change, which I find depressing, and that keeps me from wanting to listen to The Garden over and over. To be fair, it’s very honest, bared soul song writing and there are moments of hope to be found, but they are few and far between.
The honesty of the record does make it difficult to fault its bleak lyricism, because it’s the honesty which is both the greatest strength and weakness. Songs like the title track, “The Garden,” as it relates to the human condition in a postlapsarian world, is by far my favorite song, containing lyrics such as: “I’m naked and I’m cold/ and I finally realize what it is to be exposed/your word is sharper than a sword/ and it penetrates my soul/ and cuts right through my bones/ and You call me by name.” The despair and shame of the entire song is summed up in the last line, “and You call me by name.”
It’s a recurring theme throughout, of guilt and shame, especially in the closing number, “More In Us,” which outright addresses it: “there is something more in us/cause we were made all more glorious than we will ever know/but it’s been buried underneath/ and we ask how can we be clean with all this guilt and all this shame/its not our deeds, that make us worthy/how can we know love, when there is no peace without your blood?” I find it impossible not to connect with their lyrics on at least some level. However, it’s also not a mood of music which I can just pick up and listen to whenever, I have to be in a particular state of mind to truly appreciate it and relate to it.
Overall: This is a solid indie rock album that delivers heavy hitting music and pensive lyrics. It may be despairing and depressing, but the honesty shines through. There’s nothing groundbreaking about The Garden, but it doesn’t need to be, it’s satisfying enough as it is. Sosaveme is the complete package; any fans of indie rock shouldn’t hesitate to pick this up. It’s simple enough, this album rocks.
RIYL: SONS, My Epic, As Cities Burn, Manchester Orchestra, High Flight Society