SoCal Sessions features 12 newly-recorded acoustic versions of some of P.O.D.'s biggest hits, including "Youth of the Nation" and "Alive." For P.O.D. fans who crave the their heavy, electric sound, the band has also announced they've begun writing their ninth studio album. The currently-untitled album of all new original songs will be released in 2015.
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A Worthwhile Detour| Posted November 19, 2014
Whatever your expectations were for the next move rapcore/reggae/rock and roll monolith P.O.D., chances are they didn't include a full-on acoustic album. The release of fan-funded SoCal Sessions proves the band's ability to keep people guessing, revisiting highlight moments from their impressive career in a more mellow format.
Some of the songs translate beautifully into what you'd expect from a traditional acoustic offering. Melancholy, searching P.O.D. classic "Will You" is one of these, with the melody and the introspective lyrics seemingly ready-made to be paired with slightly distorted, delayed acoustic guitar over the brooding bass. The chorus of "No Ordinary Love Song" is another soaring melodic moment that could easily pass for having been intended for this format.
Other offerings here might invite some measure of skepticism regarding whether the band can really pull them off, such as rapcore-styled classics "Youth of the Nation" and "Panic + Run." Fortunately, the band shows remarkable finesse in resculpting these songs to fit the acoustic form, adapting the melody where necessary but adding elements like a quavering harmonica presence that seems to maintain the ties to the band's bluesy reggae roots (a fusion exemplified on "Strength of My Life").
The song choices are a mix of successful singles and lesser known gems. The selection seems to be based primarily on what would be most interesting and workable in the acoustic format, which in this case is a wise approach given the sonic leap that had to occur for these renditions.
Closing Thoughts: SoCal Sessions faces the challenge of taking songs written in an extremely different style and adapting them successfully without making them unrecognizable. There are a few misstep moments where it slips to playing it too safe to the original song where perhaps more experimentation could have served the arrangements, but overall P.O.D. walks this challenging line with focus and creativity. This project will add an intriguing, enjoyable musical detour to the library of any P.O.D. fan.
Song to Download Now:
"Will You" (Get it on iTunes here.)
Loved it!| Posted November 20, 2014
I will admit I didn't expect this but it's a welcome treat! I was already a fan of P.O.D.'s softer side and always liked the gems like Set Your Eyes to Zion that they would hide between their more rocking tracks in each album. So to have a full release of accoustic songs excited me! And I wasn't disappointed. If you have been a fan for a while you'll find this a bit nostalgic. If you're relatively new you might find this impressive though very different for the band. I give this a full recommendation.