“I Believe,” by Pomeroy, from A New Reflection:
If the bar at Re:Verse were as slick as Pomeroy’s new album, your rum and diet would slide right off and onto the floor. Fortunately, the boys in this 10-year-old band wear cheap shoes. Or at least they do in the cover shot — Converse and Adidas, mostly. Otherwise, they’re done up like happy Express customers in black-and-white, jeans-and-blazer casuals. The look does not say, We will rock you but rather We will rock your body, and that’s what the band’s fifth album, A New Reflection, aims to do. Present here is the hot, blended broth of radio-affirming influences that have earned Pom a huge Midwestern fanbase: the rockin’ honky funk of 311, the boyish masculine effrontery of New Kids on the Block, the crew-cut soul of Maroon 5, the blues influence that comes from guitar lessons in the back of a music store, and the innocuous frat-boy rapping that invariably springs from the mix. And why is that? Track two, “I Believe,” is supremely smooth and catchy, with sweet, bluesy guitar riffs and a blazing solo. But then lead singer David Fairbanks has to step in with, Yo, where do you turn when you learn/Life might just be like a sunburn? and proceeds to prove he’s the best white rapper since the guy from Third Eye Blind. But don’t hate the player, right? And there’s some hard stuff to hate on A New Reflection, such as the first three-fourths of “I Believe,” the ambitious big-band ballroom rock of “The Beat Goes On” and the ridiculously fun late-era-Santana knockoff “Normal Life.” In the end, though, Pomeroy’s latest is not pleasurable enough to justify the guilt. These guys either need to get with a beat producer like Miles Bonny and do it up right or discover their deeper selves. For a lesson in the value of the latter approach, look at Marky Mark. Dude nearly won an Oscar.