We review the new single from San Pedro Collective – Phase Two EP
With a long and storied history of collaborations across many genres, San Pedro Collective brings something that is not only distinct in its genre, but distinct amongst contemporaries of its genre.
You is the first track, and there is an immediate precedent of quality established. San Pedro Collective are known for their use of funk, but You takes it a step further and adds in a Latin influence. Utilising a variety of percussion, including maracas and bongos, to lay down a rich and vibrant collage of sound just for the core beat of the song.
Couple this with a complex trumpet arrangement, and a buttery smooth acoustic guitar keeping the rhythm and you have a very strong influence in your song.
Finally there’s the vocals provided by Jasmine Needham, and she provides an incredible performance here. Her delivery is beautiful and filled with passion, fitting the theme of the songwriting and it’s description of a subject known as ‘You’.
The second track, In Your Way, moves back into a much more new wave direction. There’s a heavy emphasis on synthesiser this time, but there’s still some of the Latin influence leftover.
With a mysterious echoing effect ringing out from the synthesiser throughout, it adds a distinctive edge compared to You. The introduction of a traditional drum kit provides a fast paced and high impact percussion too.
As well as a variety of flourishes that seem to never end as the intensity rises, it’s a complex and interesting back beat that keeps even the most basic elements of the song interesting.
The contrast of an acoustic guitar strumming away whilst a funk style synth rings out is also a surprisingly bold choice. On paper it sounds as though it would be counterintuitive to have two very different elements. But instead it’s a strong coupling that accentuates the different genres that are being payed homage.
The third track, Time, is a much more laid back style compared to the previous two. But once again it’s distinctive and catchy. This time there is the introduction of string instruments such as cellos, giving a much more grandiose and classic vibe. These add a strong and distinct feel and seem to give a multinational, global kind of feel that wouldn’t be out of place in a Bond film theme song.
Add in a funk slap-bass providing chunky chords to the mix and a slightly toned down drum kit, that still keeps those high impact thwacks, and you round out what Time is at its most basic.
Looking a little deeper, the use of echoing in the vocal performance add to the grander scale of Time, and what it’s all about. It’s much more operatic through and through. The beauty of it, is that it still keeps the distinct feel that every song on Phase Two is going for.
Rounding out the EP is a remix of In Your Way, this time it’s Calito’s Way Mix. It hits the nail on the head as to what a remix should do, by completely breaking the song down and building it into something wholly fresh.
It adds in a drum machine with some of the deepest and most bass filled drum beats possible, giving a much more club oriented feeling that’s very fitting.
Along with adding in the thick drum beat, it strips back a lot of the fluff, such as the extended synth intro, and some of the more technical guitar moments. But this stripping back is replaced by a much more anthem like feel, one that compliments the chorus excellently.
Interestingly the remix lowers the tempo, rather than raising it. On the one hand it makes it a much easier song to keep a beat to, but on the other hand it loses some of the more interesting intricacies due to the stripped back nature.
In Your Way (Calito’s Way Mix) is still an undoubtedly catchy song, and an excellent way to close out Phase Two. It’s truly presents a difficult conundrum of picking between the remix and the original, as it really does enhance and change to become a whole new song.
Phase Two overall is an incredible EP that feels incredibly fresh and different, against what can sometimes feel like a very stale backdrop of indie rock startups. But San Pedro Collective bring together so many different performers and musical influences that it becomes a melting pot of ideas and different takes. But rather than ending up as a jumbled mess of ideas, Phase Two has a coherent and clear theme, with every song being distinct from the last.