The Phantom Tollbooth
The Warriors EP 
Artist: POD 
Label: Tooth and Nail Records 
Length: 7 tracks/27:32 minutes

The French Riviera accordion on the intro track did not raise my hopes for this EP.  I, like many, had purchased their last album, Brown, after hearing how good it was.  Unlike the others, though, I didn't think that much of it--the glimpses of genius on the album were ruined by a scattering of distracting intros, outros, a punk song, a reggae song, and so on.  Still, POD sold over 30,000 copies of Brown, and have now signed with Atlantic Records, with an album due out this summer.
After the intro, the tense strummed electric guitar opening of "Southtown" immediately caught my ear.  The spastic explosion that is this song is worth the purchase price alone.  The massive grooves, highly charged rap-core vocals, and intense headbanging riffs make Kid Rock's "Bawitdaba" sound like child's play.  If POD is going to have one sure fire speaker-blower radio hit from their new album, this will be it.  However, the next track, "Breath Babylon," re-recorded from Brown, continues on in the POD tradition of uneven song quality.  "Breath Babylon" was one of the few solid, standout tracks on Brown, and this atrocious, lacadasically paced re-recording ruins the song.  The absence of the smooth song stylings of guest rapper Dirt only further hurts this song. "Rosa Linda," a minute and a half long instrumental featuring the classical guitar leanings of guitarist Marcos is intriguing, but not really necessary.

The re-recorded version of "Full Color" is the opposite of the "Breath Babylon" remake, actually taking a weak song from Brown and making it into a great one. The closing track, "Sabbath," is another instrumental, ending with sample of a rainstorm.

Production wise, POD's riffs have never been fatter, and guitar tones sharper.  Sonny's throat and raps, always good, seem to have gotten even better, a definate edge present for this recording.

A note in the back of the CD liner from lead singer Sonny explains that "This EP consists of pre-production demos that were recorded for our debut album on Atlantic."  While some of these songs such as "Southtown" and the rerecorded version of "Full Color" show promise, POD seems to still possess their annoying knack for diddling around with a good thing.  Will the future for POD be bright, or full of rain like the closing of "Sabbath" would suggest?

Joe Rockstroh   (7/31/99)