Son of Pearl – Echo Funk

Son of Pearl – Echo Funk

Musically, the artist Son of Pearl is constantly on the move. He can lend his silky tenor to soul ballads that also drip with a good helping of funk and blues as he did  on his EP Songs Inspired by Beale Street. Then he can flip it and give us a thoroughly modern R&B track that sports all of the contemporary bells and whistles from autotune to that staple of trap music, the ubiquitous 808 drums, on a track such as “Summer Time Love.”

However, Tedi Robinson, the vocalist and driving force behind Son of Pearl, is a funkster at heart. He may insert contemporary elements into some of the cuts on Echo Funk, his latest seven track EP. You’ll hear some autotune and there will be some rap and rock as well. However, Echo Funk is its most compelling when Son of Pearl is on the one.

Funk is a pretty broad genre that has been able to seep into styles ranging from blues to country, and Son of Pearl incorporates many of those styles into Echo Funk. The album’s best track, “Just Shake It,” is an amalgamation of funk and bluesy rock that envelopes a story of a guy trying to convince a lady to forget about the problems of today, as well as tomorrow’s obligation, and head to the club and the dance floor.

“Q.U.E.E.N” is Echo Funk’s most musically ambitious tune, reveling in the majesty of black women. The cut mixes tight lyricism that is sung by Son of Pearl and rapped by FlightBoy with an arrangement that contrasts a gospel inspired piano with 808 drums and computerized harmonization, giving the number an otherworldly feel. Echo Funk deploys many of the same elements on the driving, atmospheric funk of “Say Something,” a track that finds him trying to reach an understanding with a lady caught up in her feels about something he did.

Son of Pearl flips the script 180 degrees on “Country Girl,” where he expresses wonder that a lady from rural America crack his tough, big city persona. Tedi vocally can easily move into a mid-tempo country ballad complete with steel petal guitars. Still, “Country Girl” shows the limits of adding a rap to a tune. It comes off as forced.

But even that reflects on of Son of Pearl’s major virtues. His willingness to take risks and push boundaries. Because more often than not those risks pay off, and one of the most prolific artists around successfully shares his vision with us again. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes