[The boys from Pearl Rose (from left) Jacques Holloway, Kristiaan de Kock, Cobus du Plessis, Dirkie Joubert and Leon Kotze at the Upstairs Theatre in Stellenbosch on 18 November 2021. PHOTO: Supplied/ Pearl Rose]

Pearl Rose is a five-man rock outfit from Stellenbosch. They began playing in 2021, with shows in Cape Town at the Open Sesame Bar and closer to home at Bohemia in Stellenbosch. The band released a four-track EP titled Love At Last Sight on 28 October, which follows up their debut single ‘Can’t Live With It’ from November last year.

Pearl Rose is made up of Dirkie Joubert (drums), Cobus du Plessis (bass), Leon Kotze (rhythm guitar), Kristiaan de Kock (lead guitar), and Jacques Holloway (lead vocals).

The EP shows off a varied set of rock sounds, with plenty of snippets that’ll have you pleasantly reminded of something you can’t quite place. Its more emotive middle tracks are bookended by the noisier entry song ‘Stop ‘n Go’ and the driving closing number ‘She’s a Snake’.

Stop ‘n Go

The opening track takes us through reflections of the world as it is, where our responsibility lies, and whether we should just let it burn. The drums lead the way in the beginning with snappy cymbals and snares through the first two verses.

Things really kick off a little into the second minute, as the noisy instrumentation falls away to leave one guitar standing alone in the spotlight. The haunting, rhythmic refrain forms an undercurrent for the rest of the track and adds a lot of texture to the last two minutes. It’s very reminiscent of TOOL, and is a great example of the range of sounds that make up Love At Last Sight.

She’s a Snake

Similar to their first single ‘Can’t Live With It’, this track opens with some solo guitar that has a distinctly Blink-182 feel before morphing back into a dirtier rock sound as the rest of the band comes in.

The vocals are mixed low at the start, swimming somewhat lost in the guitar and drums. However, the sound feels appropriately stifling for a song about distrust and a need to escape — with vocals straining against the noisy mixing.

When the second verse comes along, the lead guitar slices cleanly through the fog — a moment of clarity and reprieve. Even the drums sound clearer here, which is very welcome for a verse that uses the drums alongside layered vocals, a faster lyrical flow, and a chugging low end to create a strong sense of rhythm.

This is followed by a second chorus, where the vocal performance is again turned up a notch. A stellar execution of soaring, yearning lead guitar — punctuated by little bits of dirty blues — makes for a fantastic finish, helped in no small part by great tension and release from the drums.

Like ‘Stop ‘n Go’ and ‘Sexy Punk Rock Love Song’ before it, ‘She’s a Snake’ really comes alive in the second half when the drums are given more creative freedom and the guitars get to steal the show with impressively confident and original riffs for the final stretch.

Love At Last Sight is a rock debut that winks at a variety of influences. Backed up by consistent vocals and satisfying breakdowns, these tracks promise to make for head-banging live performances.

Author

​​I write about the tech sector in hopes we can find human-centred alternatives to the mess we’ve made for ourselves. I get involved in the music scene because leaving passion unpursued is a sin. When my feet aren’t busy on the sokkie floor, you can find me chasing silver linings.

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