Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Seeing is not necessarily believing on the latest release by Cincinnati, Ohio's Pomegranates, "One Of Us." All over the record, we hear the coos of ghosts and phantoms and fixations. We hear their lullabies and their threats. We hear their heavy breaths pushing the hairs on our necks, east and west. We hear them telling the story of what was weighing them down at the time of their demise. It's mostly love that whipped them, but more so, what really sunk them was discovering that love is nothing more than a fluttery, irregular heartbeat. There is nothing that feels as if it holds any sort of permanence in the narrative that is so brilliantly brought to life by a band that gets closer and closer to U2 territory in shape and scope of its music with every new piece of work. We follow along characters who are hurrying themselves back to sleep, willing themselves back into the continuation of the last dream that was disrupted well earlier than it should have been, without a conclusion. But they've been or are going to find that this tactic is not a foolproof one, instead one that has multiple holes in it, turning these dream livings into holy messes that you wake up from only to wish that you could go back and try again to make some other kind of outcome happen this time around. The big ideas of "One Of Us" reside somewhere between loneliness, desperateness and complete immersion in the fickleness of companionship. We're flung into a pool filled with young people who can only swim a little and they're scared out of their heads, but what they're letting on is that they're not at all in danger. They might even have things figured out just fine, until the lights dim and they're finally, once again, left alone for the day and they have no one left to have to try and trick. The people prancing around in these songs - seemingly barefoot and mostly joyful - are reaching for other people, for the ability to be loved back, to be held, to be danced with. They also seen oddly attached to the idea that much of this is a futile pageant that will continue to happen, meant primarily to get us comfortably through our years to a time when the cartilage and our living lights go out.
Joey Cook and Isaac Karns, share lead singer duties for the band and they play wonderfully off of each other, one more impetuous and full of ire and blood (Karns) and the other full of the hope found at the bottoms and tops of wishing wells. These two, along with newcomer Dan Lyon and drummer Jacob Merritt, craft a sound that frames this misty holding pattern between wisdom and comfort and insecurity and flammability - the chamber of aging and doubt. Cook sings on "White Fawn, "I'll be someone I'm happy with someday, until then I will love you like you were made to be loved." It's this very real insistence that none of this is going to get any clearer anytime soon and Pomegranates lock us into this steadily undulating, steadily jerking seat. The title track of the album, also the first song on "One Of Us," states, "I've tried to trust you with my eyes, but all I see definitely is that I die/The future warned me in my sleep, 'The end will come when you are weak,'" and the last song on the record, "Into The Water, Into The Air," brings us back to the thought of needing to die to get some answers, "Sometimes your love, it comes as a surprise/Now the same dream's in my head as when I closed my eyes/What must I do to live without an end?/I ask you hoping it's not how but when/'If you want to live forever,' you say first that I must die/Now the same dream's in my head as when I closed my eyes." It could be the way or just another fluttery ruse.