The title “indie” in terms of music has become sectionalized into so many made up sub-genres that clear-cut indie pop or rock just doesn’t hold the same cache to the blog world and their readers as bands pinned to these new exotic genres. Be it chillwave, witch house, or any other fake new genre, the music is basically a deviation of the standard but presented as something you’ve never heard before…a new artistic movement. With this, bands making quality music under the original banner of straightforward “indie” rock or pop are passed over or are fortunate enough to have already established their fanbase in the late 90’s or early 2000’s. It’s this obsession with new trends in sound that makes me respect bands that can write accessible indie music that much more. It’s more daring in today’s musical climate to write a great pop record than create amateur soundscapes and arbitrarily label it something gaze. With all this said, there are albums in these made up genres that I enjoy, but I find a myself yearning for the good old days (pre 2007) where music was music and listeners enjoyed or disliked an album for what it was and not what it was labeled.
I thought this was an album review? I bring all this up because I’ve heard very little in my blog/reader circle about the amazing new album “One Of Us” by The Pomegranates. It’s because the sounds they make are not very right now. They’re now, but in the indie music world they have to be RIGHT now, this instant now. With everyone focusing on single man electro bands, lo fi, shoegaze (what does that even mean?), horrible rapping in low voices…I’m afraid a four star record might go ignored. Not on my watch.
The Pomegranates are a Cincinnati four piece that has put out two previous albums and two EP’s while shuffling up the band members starting back in 2008. We currently find The Pomegranates at their highest point with their best lineup to date (Cook, Karns, Merritt, and Lyon) and “One Of Us” being their most mature and ultimately strongest release of the three albums. Solid drumming and clever guitar riffs drive The Pomegranates, but it’s their wonderful alternating vocals that set them apart. This is best featured on the track “50s” where one member takes control until they all come in for the chorus and then another member comes over top with a high yell that acts as a catchy surprise, ultimately taking the track to the next level. The thirteen tracks never gets stale because everyone in the band has their say and with the alternating vocals a new layer of songwriting is available to the band. Much like a synth line being introduced halfway during a song, the changing vocals are used in the same way to fill out a song and keep the listener always on their toes.
What’s amazing about “One Of Us” is how it’s both fun and sincere. That might not sound like a hard task, but most albums that are “fun” are typically distant of truth, they use exaggeration or comedy to lighten the atmosphere for the listener. Sincerity usually has a darker, more serious quality. The Pomegranates seamlessly walk this line to great successes. Tracks “Anywhere You Go” and “Between Two Dreams” are back to back and demonstrate my point. “Anywhere” builds into this amazingly catchy tune that (mimicking a tape speeding up) transitions into “Between Two Dreams” which is the most devastatingly beautiful song this young band has ever written. “Between Two Dreams” is a timeless track that marks a new growth for The Pomegranates and displays that there’s no sonic boundary for this band.
The Pomegranates have no pretense. There is no add on X, costume Y, or gimmick Z…and there is something very comforting about that.