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Pep Rally’s “South Street”

The beat isn’t always the most effective element of a rock single, but in the case of Pep Rally’s “South Street,” the song’s bold groove is by far the most entrancing component of the track. As their name suggests, Pep Rally bring a lot of vitality and enthusiasm to this performance, but it’s not their chipper attitude that makes the rhythm of the music as infectious as it is (although it certainly doesn’t hurt).

Precision is king in “South Street,” and for those with an ear for efficient pop songcraft, this might be one of the better singles coming out of the underground this year.

This lead vocal has a lot of energy oozing from its melodies, but this doesn’t take away from the depth of the instrumentation at all. Contrarily, I think the sugary harmonies in “South Street” are perhaps some of the most endearing parts of the track, authenticating much of the emotionality implied with the lyrics in a way that merely singing them couldn’t have compensated for. Pep Rally is acting like old pros here, and their grasp of conceptualism bodes well for anyone craving a smarter brand of pop music in 2022.

The acoustic guitar parts in “South Street” are much more exciting than anything electric would have been, and I would even argue that an oversized riff would have created an overwhelming weight in the mix – ultimately dismissing the fragility of the lead vocal during the climax. This is a much more thoughtful means of delivery, and for being a band that hasn’t reached the top tier of the charts yet, Pep Rally seems to be comfortable with the ambitiousness of this design, which is saying a lot about what they might be able to accomplish in the next few years still ahead.

Because of the meticulousness that this master mix was created, we’re able to hear all of the intricate details in the arrangement otherwise swallowed up by the ambient noise of a live performance. Separating all of the individual components in “South Street” gives us an even better feel for how intimately acquainted with the majesty of pop music these players really are, and my gut tells me that we’re only just beginning to see what they can do with the release of this single and its quaint, but nonetheless charismatic, new video.

Deliberate but not the decadent pop number it feels like it’s going to be inside of its opening bars, I believe “South Street” is going to bring a lot of love Pep Rally’s way, and they’re well-deserving of it. Pop/rock is always more alluring when it’s offered up with a smile, and that’s more or less what makes this track such a loveable listen even after a few spins. Pep Rally isn’t changing the world with this kind of composition, but they’re adding a melodic edge to a year that has been devoid of much personality in the pop genre, and for that they deserve to be rewarded with legitimate praise.

Mindy McCall



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