CD Review of Everybody Come Outside! by The Pomegranates
The Pomegranates: Everybody Come Outside!
Recommended if you like
Tilly & the Wall, Nana Grizol,
The Polyphonic Spree
Label
Lujo Records
The Pomegranates:
Everybody Come Outside!

Reviewed by Neil Carver

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C
incinnati-based, the four boys of the Pomegranates are drifting far from their Midwestern roots on their sophomore release, Everybody Come Outside. Described as a story about a wanderer taken away by a time traveler, the album is a journey all the way through, one begun on their debut, Everything Is Alive. There were some transcendent moments on Everything – including the incredibly catchy "Whom/Who" and the bitter "Desert Hymn" – but the album had the hiccups and slightly disjointed tenor of a band just finding its first steps. Now, not even a year later, they have found their footing and taken a major leap forward with Everybody Come Outside!

While building a concept album, the quartet didn’t get so lost in the idea that they failed to improve their craft – everything is better here. Joey Cook’s childlike vocals are a touch less precious, quickly maturing without losing their distinctive sound. He even engages in some adolescent yelping that brings an immediate energy to tracks like "This Land Used to Be My Land, But Now I Hate This Land," a song that so perfectly compliments Nana Grizol’s "Circles ‘Round the Moon" you have to wonder if they were hanging with Theo Hilton. Musically, though, they’re miles above that band. Isaac Karns and Joshua Kufeldt are both credited on guitar, and have taken the classic angular jangle rock to effervescent heights, creating a kind of reverse wall of sound, one that raises the melody and vocals up instead of drowning them out. It’s also clear that everyone in the band fully contributes – there isn’t a track on the album that doesn’t showcase the subtle but indispensable percussion of Jacob Merrit, whether intricately supportive on tracks like "Corriander," or shaping the entire song, as on "Tesseract."

From the opening echo chamber strumming and shouted title lyrics on the opening track, through the shimmering 13 minutes of "I Feel Like I’m a Million Years Old," the Pomegranates take the listener alongside them on their journey. ECO! is not just summery music, it’s summer itself – energetic and fast-moving at the beginning, the first half of the album flies by just like the early months of the warmest season. "Svaati Utzi," which starts out with Tilly-like stomping and clapping and a guitar riff straight off Vampire Weekend, is the mid-summer transition that recognizes the rising heat and questions where we go next. Josh Kufeldts is the vocalist here, and you know you have to answer "yes" when he sings, ‘You want to go for a ride?" This natural single is followed by the dog days of summer, manifested in the languorous seven-minute "Jerusalem Had a Bad Day" and the almost jazzy "Tesseract," which is a deep August after dark listen. Cook’s lyrics are perfectly framed introspection: lines like "I would never say to you that we should follow any rule that says we should learn how to die" conjure up wine-soaked beach philosophy on a night too hot to sleep.

It all comes together with the beautiful "I Feel Like I’m a Million Years Old," which stretches out in an intoxicating dream of a journey’s end, both a season’s final days and a life’s last moments. It feels like the Pomegranates have grown up in the past year, and ECO! is a perfect record of this maturity. With an intense touring schedule including South by Southwest in Austin and crossing the entire continental US, the Poms are making their emotional and creative journey a literal reality that we all can share. Here’s hoping they find the followers they deserve. Everybody Come Outside! indeed! This is a band you don’t want to miss.

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