First released back home in 2014, this month sees the European release of Go To Prison via Gunner Records, and an irresistible antagonistic riot it is too. The debut album of New Orleans punks Pears, the ten track brawl of punk and hardcore is no stranger to critical acclaim since its initial uncaging and can expect plenty more on this side of the Pond. Like 999 meets The Dwarves with Kid Dynamite and a dirty version of Hagfish in close attendance, the album is an insatiable brawl of punk varied sounds and anthemic tenacity with its middle finger raised and stomp in top gear. There is pop punk involved, hardcore abrasing employed, and old school contagion in abundance, yet Go To Prison manages to be as much a fresh and unique proposition for ears as it is something similar to being an old friend. It offers punk rock as it should be, in your face, rifling your pockets, and leading you into sinful revelry.
Pears were formed in 2013 by vocalist Zachary Quinn and guitarist Brian Pretus, friends who had already a musical history together, and with bassist Alex Talbot who swiftly joined the band, through previous band The Lollies. Initially the line-up was completed by friend and drummer John Bourgeois and after weeks of practice and honing songs, Pears hit the stage for the first time supporting Off With Their Heads, who the members had played with before as The Lollies. The departure of Bourgeois a little time after that first show led to the recruitment of Tim Harman. Go To Prison came next, the album receiving a digital release before having a North American vinyl unveiling through Off With Their Heads mastermind, Ryan Young via his podcast/label, Anxious And Angry. The band undertook their first full US/Canadian tour soon after and has continued to ravage audiences with shows and tours which have included stage sharing with the likes of The Dwarves, Red City Radio, Off With Their Heads, The Dirty Nil, Night Birds, The Atom Age, Iron Chic, Iron Reagan, The Queers, Suicide Machines, Lower Class Brats, Direct Hit! and numerous more. Now Europe gets to feel their presence through Go To Prison, a release being backed by a European tour in February.
Less than a minute of pure punk rage and devilment opens up the album; You’re Boring roaring in ears and battering the senses with vocal confrontation, punishing rhythms, and coarse riffs; this all wrapped in an anthemic infectiousness. It is a bitch slap of a start awakening attention and appetite ready for offerings like Victim To Be which instantly takes over. Teasing with a potent melody initially, the song erupts, relaxes with that first coaxing once more, and erupts again with a cantankerous and energetic stroll of spiky pop punk. Quinn stamps his vocal feet across the song, backed well by the mellower tones of both Pretus and Talbot, whilst beats and hooks similarly have an attitude to match the character of the vocals. The potency of the album’s opening continues with the song and is soon elevated thanks to the agitated character and imagination of Breakfast. It twists, flirts, and storms the barricades with precise hooks and snarling belligerence providing another inescapably catchy provocation.
The fierce yet again virulently insatiable Sycophant has complete control of body and soul next, its stabbing riffs and beats barely deflecting pleasure from the blend of seventies glam pop hooks, think Sweet’s Hellraiser, and Madball/Vandals like causticity. The track romps with menace and mischief in its heart softening up senses and emotions ready for the sour pop punk of Forever Sad and the more metal spiced of Framework, another pair of tracks magnetically and creatively gripping feet and thoughts. The first of the two has a feel of The Replacements to it in many ways, yet as the album, casts its own identity ultimately, whilst the second rages and bristles with a volatility which just fascinates as it abrases for another thoroughly enjoyable raging.
Terrible is simply hardcore soaked punk rock with a smile in its heart and a grudge in its presentation, its intimidation whetting the appetite for the next up cover of Judy Is A Punk. The band do little with it but still it sounds new and distinct to Pears, which tells you all you need to know about the potency of their core sound.
The album ends with firstly the highly flavoursome badgering of Little Bags, an accomplished slice of punk which just gets stronger and more anthemic with every second, and lastly the excellent Grimespree. It is the most adventurous song on the album, taking its opening rage and bruising presence into a part doom, part post punk exploration which takes a strong song into being an outstanding proposition.
Go To Prison is a must for all punk fans, something to feel invigorated and nostalgic with whilst riding a whole new breath of punk rock rebellion.
Go To Prison is available on CD/Vinyl via Gunner Records from Jan 30th. Get it digitally from http://pearstheband.bandcamp.com/album/go-to-prison
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