Like his peers Cex and Why?, Astronautalis has been slowly expanding beyond the confines of hip-hop. On his first disc for Eyeball, the Florida native has almost abandoned rapping all together, carrying out an indie-folk vibe instead. However, the songs that stand out on Pomegranate aren’t the one’s that follow a new direction-they’re the few that still count rap as an influence. “Mr. Blessington’s Imperialist Plot” is an excellent track that blends beats, strings and backwards loops with a vocal style that echoes Gibby Haynes on Butthole Surfers’ “Pepper.” “The Case Of William Smith” is a unique Western-sounding trip-hop number complete with horns-if Portishead, Johnny Cash and a Mariachi band merged, this is what it would sound like. Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t fare as well; perhaps Astronautalis shouldn’t stray too far from his roots. (EYEBALL) Eddie Fleisher