PEARS - PEARS (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


PEARS (2020)

Fat Wreck Chords

Ricky Frankel reviewed PEARS first two LPs for Punknews, as well as their Letters to Memaw 7-inch, each time giving them 4 ½ or 5 stars and calling them “unique,” “refreshing,” and the word “revolutionary” was even floated around. And I wholeheartedly agree with him. I personally think that Go To Prison is the 2010s answer to Shape of Punk to Come or London Calling in that it’s a game changing album that breaks punk out of a rut to breathe life back into it and demonstrate the unrealized potential of this genre. Hell, PEARS have been heralded as the next big thing in punk so much that it’s become trendy amongst punk hipsters to complain about how overrated they are, an honor that most bands don’t achieve until decades after their debut. So with everything that I think PEARS has achieved in such a short time, it’s the first time that I’ve ever felt like I’m insulting a band by giving them only four stars. But the truth is, for PEARS’ self-titled album, they don’t feel revolutionary or game changing or like the new face of punk or any of those superlatives used to describe their previous albums. This one is just…a really good album.

Of course, the last two LPs were not where we last left PEARS, as their last release was their split-LP with Direct Hit!, Human Movement, where, even though I’m a bigger fan of Direct Hit!, PEARS impressed me more, especially when the two bands covered each other and PEARS put together an awesome medley of Direct Hit! songs with the chorus of a Masked Intruder song thrown in for the fuck of it. That split LP found the two bands exploring each other’s styles a bit, with Direct Hit! letting their hardcore side show a little more, and PEARS demonstrating their pop sensibilities. PEARS shows the band building off that somewhat with songs like “Naptime” that combines their trademark disjointed hardcore style with some killer hooks. But a lot of the album retreats to the Go to Prison formula of hardcore that can change tempo on a dime and alternates between screaming and gorgeous melodies. There’s some really great vocal harmonies on “Funerals” and “Cynical Serene.” But then, completely out of left field, comes “Traveling Time” which sounds like nothing PEARS has ever done before, sounding like a 90s grunge band’s interpretation of a 70s classic rock song, and that’s where the really strong melodies come out.

I guess when I say that this album isn’t revolutionary, I really mean that it’s no more so than anything they’ve done before. PEARS basically takes that groundbreaking style of previous albums and repeats it. It’s still a really strong album and one that will make its way into my regular rotation, but you can’t call a rehash of the same formula as revolutionary as the original. Not that that’s likely to be a problem for PEARS because I don’t think they ever set out to change punk rock as much as they just set out to make good punk music, and this album certainly succeeds in that regard.