For its third album, Pomegranates streamline the moody, quintessentially indie pop rock with a raw garage sensibility. Propelled by the bass, the band churns through slow and fast numbers alike with the kind of flashy, automatic energy revived by the Strokes and bands of that ilk in the early 2000s. Such posturing renders One of Us by turns exhilarating and tedious. “Skull Cakin’”, far and away the self-conscious album standout, embodies that contradiction. A riveting hook and grinding guitar changes are convincing proof of the band’s intelligent edge. The verses are a mouth-watering treat. The chorus, however, tries too flatly to be different, and as the song ends Pomegranates overplays its hand with one of those drawn-out, clattering denouements that only feel right after an unqualified face-melting.
The album’s uptempo polish invigorates the band’s sound but ultimately fails to mesh with its wistful tendencies. It’s as though the rhythm section and the keyboardist aren’t quite on the same page. Just when the arrangements coalesce into an aggressive crescendo, they dissolve into watery meditations. One of Us shines throughout with an attractive, confident sheen, but consistency isn’t really a virtue unless it is part of the foundations.