P.O.D. has always been a band attempting to bring a fresh feel to each of their albums while sticking to their roots that made them favorites in the first place. While critics love to place them under the Nu-metal category, they have constantly been ready to experiment. ‘Circles’, their latest, contains its fair share of lyrics sprinkled with optimism, hard-hitting riffs, fresh tunes and of course, a few rehashes that pretty much sound like a nod to their greatest hits.
Sonny Sandoval (lead vocalist) says the album title has multiple meanings – it could either signify a fresh start or the beginning of the end. Or it could even mean, P.O.D. is here to stay. The eleven tracks in ‘Circles’ definitely prove a point when it comes to that!
They start off slow with “Rockin’ With The Best”, a track that talks about current music trends and how consumers are unable to distinguish between splendid originals and cheap knock-offs, the chorus (however unimaginative it sounds lyrically), is a complete blast. “Always Southern California” is the quintessential feel-good track of the album that rides high on nostalgia – detailing the buoyancy of the band’s birthplace.
The title track “Circles” sheds light on mental agony and how people try to vanquish them with the help of supplements (and how this is indeed a vicious circle!). The chorus here is astonishingly less Nu-metal and more pop-rock-ish. The track that immediately follows is “Panic Attack” which sounds slickly produced and has a bit of a “Boom” feel to it. With an infectious chorus hallmarked by Sandoval’s quirky lyrics and a sumptuous bass line, this is a fast-paced track that sounds better with each listening.
“On The Radio” has a catchy start and middle section but the rest of it doesn’t match up, especially the chorus. The slow-beat “Fly Away” and “Domino” could be part of a reggae album and nobody would complain. “Listening For The Silence” is one of the standout tracks for the very reason that it invokes the vibes of “Murdered Love” – the lyrics elucidate the dangers that lurk both internally and externally, boasting a chorus that’s worth every single head-bang, and Sandoval gets to scream his heart out – always a plus!
“Soundboy Killa” is certainly the best track on the album, and it has old-school P.O.D. written all over it. This hip-hop metal mash-up features a masterful blend of Sandoval’s stylized vocals (he’s ‘fully loaded on the microphone’) and unsettling riffs (also, a tremendous hook!).
If you have been closely following P.O.D. over the last few decades, you should definitely give the album a listen. The title ideally encapsulates what the album is – the band intends to move only in one direction and that’s forward, even though the world may think otherwise.
Rating: ***½ out of 5
Watch the video for “Listening For The Silence” here:
Also, find the link to the entire playlist below: