San Pedro’s Vision, old friends of Needs More Cowbell, are back with a profoundly good EP, titled Elysium. Over its four tracks, SPV runs the gambit from atmospheric synth sounds, chilled, delicate guitar licks, to San Pedro’s Vision’s signature blistering psychedelic rock heaviness.
The main tracks, Elysium, 1422, and Merkabah all seem to have a similar concept. The tracks start delicately, with layers of synthesisers and gentle lead guitar work. Over time they build in intensity, adding simple drum beats and eerie vocals, before launching into fuzzed in, drugged out riffage. The tracks are very long indeed, evoking the feeling of those classic pink Floyd and Cream albums we all know and love. But the record still feels fresh. There are some very 1980’s bass and synth breaks, which I just adore in this context. There are also some ideas pinched from the 90’s alternative rock scene, particularly from a vocal standpoint. The best rock music in my opinion is never rooted in just one moment, for a song to become timeless the listener must have no idea when the song was recorded. That is something I feel SPV have accomplished here, and I applaud them for it.
The musicianship demonstrated is certainly top tier, in both songwriting and performance. The keyboard work, especially on the latter half of 1422, is excellent. I love how all the elements interact to create a monstrous crescendo at the midway point of this track followed by that awesome descending pattern, backed up by monstrous drum fills.
The intro to the title track, Elysium is so jammy, I’ve fallen in love with the guitar lick so prominent in the first third of the track, and it’s expanded upon as the track builds, though it does start to lose me towards the end with an overly long guitar solo.
Humana is the third track on the EP, but mostly functions as an intro to the final and longest track, Merkabah, but it is quite effective, and I enjoyed the speech overlapping the track.
Merkabah is clearly an effort for the band, spanning eleven and a half minutes, it’s a behemoth of a song. I’d absolutely love to hear this live. For my short attention span, long songs like this can become a bit tiresome, but in a live setting, this must truly be an experience. San Pedro’s Vision deserve a KEXP session right now, just so I can watch a video of the band absolutely jamming out to their amazing body of work.
My only question with this EP is that there isn’t much in the way of vocals. There were moments where I was singing vocal parts that I felt should have been there. There is also the fact that while this EP is certainly an experience, it falls into the classic trope of overuse of guitar. Overly long solo’s, sections where the guitar should have plainly just stayed silent. I’m not saying guitar is bad, but some restraint would have been better. I feel a full album of similar material would become rather dull towards the end, so I encourage the band to switch things up, and I’d love to see some world instruments used.
San Pedro’s Vision are onto a winning combination with the Elysium EP. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and heartily recommend that all my readers check them out. Elysium releases on the 18th March 2022.
Peace, Love & Cowbells,