For a small island, Puerto Rico has an outsized musical footprint. From salsa to hip-hop to reggaeton, for many years the Caribbean nation and the diaspora have contributed to birthing genres which have gone on to brush the globe. With that worldwide success has additionally come sure formulation for repeating it. On his debut EP, “Road 2 Neverland,” Pink Pablo eschews all of them in favor of a sound that breaks from the confines of the established mainstream. As an alternative, it favors one thing slightly freer. And over the course of six tracks, he finds it.

The introductory observe, “Neverland,” opens with blaring synths earlier than morphing right into a futuristic, funky disco beat that underscores Pablo’s mild harmonizing. The beat modifications up once more at any time when his rapping takes over, this time going rock with heavy cymbals and kick drums accentuating the artist’s extra exaggerated supply. It is a enjoyable observe that raises the vitality degree proper out of the gate and is a good introduction to Pink Pablo’s type of music: the type of no type. He is an artist for whom style comes second to the story he is attempting to inform or the emotions he wants to precise.

That is to not say that “Road 2 Neverland” does not have type or intent behind it. Quite the opposite, Pablo’s intent is a part of the explanation he is in a position to traverse drastically completely different sounds in an natural method. After bringing the vitality up, he retains it proper there with the EP’s second observe, “No Es Culpa Mía,” a defiant, up-tempo anthem that has a garage-rock really feel at instances. And it is becoming, because the observe sees Pablo rejecting the expectations positioned upon him and calling out those that really feel the necessity to touch upon his life. However within the grander theme of the undertaking, one which charts the highs and lows of younger love, that defiant angle can be a essential step alongside the street to introspection and therapeutic.

Issues change up slightly with the subsequent observe, “Falco.” On it, Pablo dials up the digital synthy vibe however brings in some samples and a basic hip-hop breakbeat to alter the tone of issues. This ends in the most effective tracks on the album, with Pablo delivering lyrics like “Con ese culo pide lo que quiera” in a method that’s extra emotional than vulgar. The track oozes nostalgia and stands as a testomony to the ability of attraction, capturing the sensation of surprise that always accompanies the early days of recent love.

Taking part in with style like Pablo does on “Road 2 Neverland” is not new to artists on the island. A part of Unhealthy Bunny’s world success was resulting from the truth that he was so keen to deviate from established norms and his fourth album, “Un Verano Sin Ti,” is a love letter to Caribbean genres. The indie scene in Puerto Rico has additionally been round for some time and the willingness of its artists to experiment with completely different sounds and depart from merely catering to the streets has positively influenced mainstream artists lately. However even alt-perreo and alt-trap stars like RaiNao and Tommy Blanco play for essentially the most half inside the confines of their respective sub-genres.

Alternatively, “Road 2 Neverland” performs virtually like a deconstruction of style itself, with Pink Pablo piecing the disparate parts again collectively in surprising methods. Many of the songs on the EP are feel-good and danceable, however not within the methods you’d count on. There may be nothing resembling a standard perreo reduce on the album. So, if that is what you are in search of, you may need to preserve trying. That is not what this EP is about.

As an alternative, Pablo is extra involved with transmuting the truth of a poisonous relationship into music. The whirlwind of conflicting feelings, the highs and lows, style turns into simply one other device for depicting this stuff. The following two tracks on the undertaking are excellent examples of this, with “Veo Luces”‘s electropop vibes capturing the joy and pure excessive of recent love and “Perdimos el Control” depicting the inevitable drug-fueled crash by means of of the emotions that observe a tough breakup with a pumping storage rock baseline. The final track on the EP, “No Me Haces Bien,” slows issues down and options the one dembow riddim on the undertaking. Right here, Pablo finds the readability to grasp the place issues went fallacious within the relationship however lacks the power to fully go away it. This sentiment is completely encapsulated within the songs refrain, “Tú no me haces bien, pero lo haces bien / Tú no me conviene, pero me entretiene.”

Whereas “No Me Haces Bien” concludes the undertaking, it leaves listeners wanting extra. That is as a result of there’s nonetheless extra story to be informed. There’s already a second EP within the works that goals to conclude Pablo’s story of amor y desamor later within the 12 months. However as half considered one of that story, “Road 2 Neverland” is an bold undertaking that succeeds in giving listeners one thing completely different whereas serving as a fantastic introduction to a gifted artist.

It won’t be for purists, and followers of unadulterated reggaeton and entice (like myself) will miss the inclusion of parts that at this level have turn out to be embedded in our collective tradition. However there are many alternatives to get pleasure from these parts. As an alternative, on “Road 2 Neverland,” Pink Pablo supplies a much-needed third house, breaking by means of the diad of reggaeton and entice to permit for a larger vary of expression — each by the artist himself and the remainder of us. It is a weak album that does not take itself too significantly and by no means lets that vulnerability cease it from being enjoyable. And due to that, it is a fantastic playlist for a day on the seashore, or a drive throughout the island — you recognize, the moments in life that do not require una cara de maleante o que le pone en cuatro, of which there are surprisingly many.

Picture Supply: Hernán Ayala Tirado