Pangaea’s new single “Come Together”

Pangaea’s new single “Come Together” isn’t the first time someone has dared to cover this late Beatles classic. Boston’s bad boys Aerosmith famously covered the tune for the doomed Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club movie was released in the late 1970s, and it’s lingered in their set list over the decades since. However, I hear Pangaea taking a decidedly different approach. They eschew carbon copying The Beatles’ classic in favor of revamping the tune as a Latin jazz-flavored/rock fusion piece with a palpably hard edge. It’s a wholly successful re-invention that should spread this sextet’s renown far and wide.

The Georgia-based band is a growing staple of the concert and festival circuit in the Peachtree state/Florida area. Their version of “Come Together” illustrates how their appealing and inviting sound has the promise of reaching a global audience. I am impressed how they’ve discovered complementary textures from the rock and jazz sides of the fence that never produce any dissonant or jarring effects. It doesn’t sound like a rock track with some horns tacked on as an afterthought.

They’ve taken their vision further than that. The polyrhythmic foundation of Pangaea’s “Come Together” is apparent from the beginning. Drummer Terry Dillard, conga player Chris Nettuno, and percussionist Frankie Quiñones lay down an irrepressible and layered beat that opens up possibilities for everything that follows. The production captures their work with clarity and physicality. The three players achieve a seamless interweaving of rhythmic lines that entwine into a greater overall whole.

They are accompanied by bassist Joe Reda’s outstanding playing. It isn’t easy following in the musical footsteps of such an iconic player like Paul McCartney, the inspiration for countless bass players since, but Reda straddles the line between remaining faithful to McCartney’s playing and stamping his own personality on the famed bass line. It takes more than skill to follow his lead. It takes a healthy dose of chutzpah and, thankfully, Reda has plenty.

Pangaea deserves considerable kudos for picking this track. They’ve covered some other challenging material from different eras, but the plucky self-assurance they show tackling this song is substantial. I believe it will play well live. The vocals are a familiar touch that breaks with the original in important and obvious ways. Balancing between respect and individuality isn’t easy, but Pangaea makes it sound that way.

The band’s material has appeared in television shows and established a growing reputation playing various venues throughout the Georgia/Florida area. “Come Together” has them poised to break through to a larger audience. They have an accessible and crowd-pleasing sound that never compromises their personal vision. Perhaps most importantly, they have ample chemistry.

They come across to my ears as if they’ve been playing together for decades. That’s magic. Achieving that veteran sound after a few short years together is a harbinger of greatness to come. Pangaea’s “Come Together” will bring a smile to the face of even the Beatles’ most devoted fans, please those unfamiliar with this classic, and invite every listener to explore further.  

Michael Rand

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