Pedro

You, Me & Everyone

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Although generally classified as an electronica artist, Pedro, aka James Rutledge, does not limit himself to the use of the "standard" electronica tools (drum machine, keyboards, programming, etc.), instead mixing in equal -- if not greater -- amounts of guitar, saxophone, and violin, among others, with his squeaks and bleeps and computers, giving his third full-length, You, Me & Everyone, a warmth and organic quality not often found even in indie realms. Yes, things are looped and processed and changed around, beats break out fast and noisily, but a great number of things are left relatively untouched and pure, like in "Lung," where a sax line -- the track's recurring motif -- plays forlornly as bass and drums rumble in slowly behind, or "Hallelujah," which uses tinny xylophones that clink over echoing, loungey acoustic guitar chords and drum machines. It's clearly carefully planned, thoughtful music, but this doesn't mean Pedro forgoes energy to favor the formless, reflective chords often overused in indie electronica productions. "Vitamins," for example, moves around rapidly over layers of percussion even as background vocals (the only time they're on the entire record) come in and the song's intensity jumps between high and low, and "I Am Keeping Up" plays with time-signature changes and quick mischievous keyboard riffs, while "Hope Is a Happiness," with its steady drums and short synth line, could easily be used as a hip-hop beat, even as violins wind themselves in, smoothing -- but not softening -- the track. It is in fact these pieces, the ones that are able to combine a strong sense of rhythm with live instrumentation, that really distinguish You, Me & Everyone as a unique work, one that is able to recognize the merit in both the contained (the slow, ambient "Sound Song") and the unbridled (the clean disorganization of "Spools"), blurring the boundaries of electronica, rock, and hip-hop into a lovingly constructed union of all three, something that may be hard to define, but is absolutely not hard to enjoy.

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