Listening to P.O.S.'s rapid-fire rhymes is a lot like trying to catch snowflakes on your tongue. You can only absorb so much at once, so repeated listens of his third full-length—and close scrutiny of his lyrics—is a must. And that's not a bad thing.
Take "Drumroll (We're All Thirsty)," in which P.O.S. drops lines like, "In a world where the world ends at the end of your block/and them uh, little whirlwinds spin friction round the clock." It's both perplexing and awesome, and sounds especially remarkable underneath the beat he concocted—a crisp drum roll mixed with a distorted bass guitar.
The album continues down this lyrically dense path as he touches on his cynicism toward American politics with searing one-liners ("Savion Glover"), and personal narratives about his own life, like when he recounts his days as an isolated teen who found solace in punk rock ("Out of Category"). Couple these lyrics with production that veers toward punk-influenced hip-hop, and you have one hell of a record that stands on its own weight.
In a genre that's seen a recent groundswell of releases that all seem to sound so similar, Never Better is a refreshing and remarkable departure.
P.O.S. plays the Palace Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 9 PM with Dessa and Grieves with Budo. $10.