Sommerset: Say What You Want
By Jacob Connor
A watershed for Sommerset with founder member Jay Dougrey upping sticks after 10 years - good thing the package is a worthy memento with heart, brain and balls. Most of the songs seem a plea for intensity of feeling (Inside), or attempt to cut to what matters most in life (Down to the Bone). So far so right-on punk rock, but Sommerset stand out from the crowd with their propulsive, layered yell-along harmonies and vocal hooks. The cumulative effect is carthartic and life affirming, like rugby crowd anthems of empowerment turned up to 11. Ryan Thomas has a versatile voice (with a Jaz Coleman open-throat roar) and sounds honest. Many young bands use volume and force for self-aggrandisement. Sommerset fold bravura performances into songsmithery and turn in a gutsy and emotional collection. It might not be friendly or innocuous enough to win a Tui, but say what you want, here's my vote.