Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
The health kick that abounded around the juice of these pomegranate fruits never really caught on here in the Midwest, so far as I know. We're - and I'm speaking for the most of us - never really bothered to learn what the advantages of spending four times as much for it in comparison to the juices of grapes, cranberries or oranges would be - not to mention what the fruits natural powers are. They must be great to require such a huge price tag. These fruits, for the most part, are just fruits like all the rest. They're all probably very good for us and none the greater.
They do their thangs when we ingest them. Done and done. What does matter is this band that has borrowed the fruit's trendy credibility - and its impossible to spell right lack of efficiency - and actually given us some benefits that we can hear and feel, some tangible things that are very sneaky. Like a band that borrows its name from often dinged up and bruised lower leg bone, this quartet of young buckeroos from Cincinnati drench their songs in sweet sugar water and let them hover around like hummingbirds, leaving behind a tail of sugar granules that are then picked off by greedy ears lusting for more of the stuff.
They make you - force you - to lick the bottom of the bowl, to hold the cup up over your lips with a jaw hinged open as far as it can go, to shake out the last dribble of the serum. The group's grasp on the finer points of cooking up melodies and honeycombs far surpasses their years as they already have the abilities to write songs that aren't going anywhere. They are songs that will challenge you, make you swoon and also make peer out longingly to the twinkling stars up above on a clear-lit night. They are buoyant and airy and they still carry so much weight.
The band's debut full-length — Everything Is Alive - is an accomplished affair that showcases the band as a true ensemble, capable of all four being creatively engaged in the making of some of the most delightful pop songs to have been released this year so far. Lead singer Joey Cook looks like he could be the unassuming little point guard with the nasty cross-over dribble and a jump shot that he could stick you in the eye with every time. That or he'd be a Chuck Knoblauch-sized No. 2 hitter, playing second base and turning double plays with aplomb. But no, he's just clutch behind the microphone, where he sings words that carry some thought-provoking sentiments in peppermint packages, jumping out of his throat with a purpose and a splash of lime. They are soft and subtle and abject in their demeanor, just lightly sprinkling the crust of the song with an icing. He sings about the misguided attempts at life, the sad little injustices that are usually self-inflicted and the ways that a greater picture of the universe can rush things back into perspective.
On "The Bellhop," a prancing number that gives off a pleasing feel of Electric Light Orchestra running through the sprinklers in slow motion with some Hall & Oates vinyl playing out of an open-screened window on the side of the house, he gives us the line, "Everyone I've ever met's been so in love with wet cement," as a way to explain the terrible urge of most people to ogle before celebrity and the shining lights of Tinseltown. It's a line that could also be used as the ponderous way to look at youth and ambition, the drive to be something other than what reality holds.
Some young bands try their damnedest to be famous, do the calisthenics needed to be like the rest of the supposedly savvy whippersnappers. Then there's Pomegranates - Cook, guitarist Isaac Karns, bassist Joshua Kufeldt and open-collared drummer Jacob Merritt - looking at that difficult cue of all those looking to be somebodies, instead of just having it pour out with a whoosh, fully formed through nothing more than sunlight and walking around.