Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, July 20, 2019

Pomegranates play fun set on unlucky tour

Indie band releases third low-budget album and plays the Black Cat amid difficulties during nation-wide tour

While a nationwide tour can be a daunting task for any indie band, a couple of Cincinnati natives known as the Pomegranates are used to challenges. In an interview with The Eagle, drummer Jacob Merritt talked about the kinds of problems that came with the release of their latest album and their subsequent fall tour.

“It went well,” Merritt said about their first show on October 7. “But some of our equipment was stolen which means we now have to adjust our tour around this misfortune.”

Thankfully for D.C. fans, adjusting didn’t require a complete compromise in overall sound. On Oct. 12, they played at the Black Cat to an initially shy audience that was in need of some defrosting. The band’s sound was more raw and edgy, possibly a result of their lost equipment and it only took about four songs for the crowd to get moving.

“We’ve played at the Black Cat several times and have always had a very good experience there,” Merritt said.

After breaking up with previous bands, the Pomegranates were formed by Merritt and guitarist Isaac Karns in the fall of 2006. They chose the name because they wanted something that sounded “the best and least embarrassing,” and they felt that it empowered the music they played.

“Nobody played music in my family but I always had a desire to play drums,” Merritt said. “I started in the tenth grade and 10 years later, here I am. I just felt like creating music was something fun, and in the end, I wanted to make a positive influence on the music industry.”

Their newest album, “One of Us,” was released on Oct. 26 and is a departure from their previous two albums, according to Merritt. The band has some of its roots in the style of shoegaze — emphasizing more on the harmonics of the instruments rather than the audibility of the lyrics. Getting lost in each track is an easy enough task as the sound just overcomes the listener from start to finish.

“On the whole, we feel much better about this third album,” he said. “Although the first and second albums were more personal, [the third album] is more mature since we had more time given to record. We had better ideas of what we were trying to accomplish through this album and we just had a better vibe flowing.”

As an indie band, the Pomegranates recorded their first two albums on a very tight budget. After switching to Afternoon Records, they had more production opportunities and recorded the album in a monastery in Cincinnati.

With this latest album, it’s clear that the Pomegranates have overcome the budding stages of the typical indie band struggle, finding a sound that works for them and learning to take setbacks in stride. If their show at the Black Cat is any indication, “One of Us” will be remembered by venue-goers across the country throughout the band’s musical career.

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