Much like the band's namesake fruit, I often found this album tough to get into. Let's forget about extended metaphors and talk about how the album spends half its time in Hades and half on Earth.
The title track trickles to life with wonderfully weird reverberating guitars that set a let's-do-a-'J'-and-eat-this-Chunky mood before some dirty bass and stick-sure drums bump the song to life like a cop billy-clubbing your van door. This is good stuff, featuring catchy breakdowns and hooky single-note guitar riffing The Edge made famous and followers Modest Mouse and Coldplay have, well, ruined. What makes the Pomegranates exceptional is the whirling dervish of backing guitars that builds a wall of sound bordering on sensory overload.
Alas, it isn't until the penultimate "Skull Cakin'" when the energy rebounds. The middle tracks lack pizzazz and direction and seemingly drift in a mid-tempo sea of sameness: reverb, echo and vocals whispered into Mr. Microphone, an albatross of faux-emoting. Hades indeed. Even though the Pomegranates aren't easy to unwrap, they're worth a bite.
Pomegranates plays the Badlander Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 9 PM with Oh No Oh My and Velcro Kicks. $5.