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Part Timing: Pearl Center’s “Near Dawn” EP

I’m kind of not sure why most of these songs couldn’t have functioned as songs for Paellas, but I assume new quartet Pearl Center gives Matton (vocalist of the aforementioned Paellas) some freedom to do things a group now signed with Universal Music Japan might not be able to. The Near Dawn EP introduces the project with four songs of hushed, R&B-tinged music that isn’t too far from other late-night downer sounds, though less guitars factor into this one and…it can actually get pretty happy. Rather, songs such as “Yellow Rose” places Matton’s higher delivery over wispy synthesizer melodies that build towards something resembling a stride delivered in confidence. Other songs aren’t quite as upbeat, with R&B elements being pitched towards something more heavy hearted and sparse dance-pop numbers leaving plenty of space for Matton to show off his vocal acting. Whatever name they come out under, Matton and his cohorts show they still can pull listeners in with vibes that don’t always seek out a happy ending. Listen above or on your preferred streaming service.