Pears – Go To Prison

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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; coverthis 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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RingMaster 29/01/2015

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Auxes – Boys In My Head

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Storming the psyche like a deranged bluster forged from the sonic invention of The Pixies and Melvins bound in the raw devilment of The Fat Dukes Of Fuck and the acidic charm of The Mai Shi, Boys In My Head is contagion gone wild. The new album from Germany based noise punks Auxes is a masterfully devious roar combining addiction with primal seduction for without any doubt one of the year’s most essential propositions.

The successor to their previously acclaimed More! More! More! of 2012, Boys In My Head sees the band take some of its raw punk persuasion and fuse it to a broader noise and psyche rock exploration. The result is their most compelling and spicily intrusive incitement yet, which as well as those earlier comparisons also sows essences found in band such as At The Drive In, The Birthday Party, and The Locust. Consisting of the combined experiences and adventure of Dave Laney (the co-founder of Milemarker and Challenger), Florian Brandel (Eniac, Kommando Sonne-nmilch, Airpeople) and Manuel Wirtz (Eniac, Honigbomber, Die Charts), Auxes fire up ears and emotions with swift drama and success as Boys In My Head entangles ears with opener To All The Fires. Song and release provide an infestation which is as fascinating as it is unpredictable, as anthemically warped as it is sonically scorching, and from their first notes inescapable slavery.

To All The Fires immediately encases ears in a web of weighty beats and sonic intrigue, a coaxing soon flourishing with feistily flavoursome melodic enterprise fuelling enslaving grooves and hooks. Vocals too have an alluring expression which subsequent harmonies only enhance as the song continues to flirt and dance with the imagination. The impressive start is straight away surpassed by I Can’t Stand You Any Longer, the song from its initial feisty rub of riffery and jabbing rhythms, a voracious stomp of virulently gripping hooks and tangy melodic intrigue. There is a grunge spice to certain aspects of the track but primarily it is a merger of garage and noise rock devilry sparking thoughts of Fake Shark-Real Zombie!

The following I Wanna See Results riles up the passions with its brief but ravenous temptation, a gnarly bassline relentlessly courting acidic guitar endeavour whilst increasingly impressing vocal causticity and just as hungrily agitated rhythms unleash their narratives. Far too brief but irrepressibly thrilling, the encounter makes way for the album’s title track, itself an epidemic of rhythmic bait and resourceful hooks within a sonic haze. Seemingly strongly inspired by The Pixies, the song is a delicious weave of sonic slavery, every groove and tangy chord easy thraldom of thoughts and passions.

The pair of Dog & Master and Life In Their Television increases the album’s grip, the first opening with a predatory rub of riffs and similarly commanding rhythms before striding purposefully with creative rabidity and bewitching enterprise. The track is a scintillating hex on body and emotions whilst its successor is an instant tease with its percussive coaxing and boys in their headmischievous beats. It is revelry though which cannot resist bursting into a punk fired tempest of abrasing guitar invention and vocal confrontation, all around a throaty bass spine. The track is a fiery charge soaked in punk belligerence, it again igniting fresh hunger in the appetite for the outstanding release; a greed right away fed wholesomely by the Frank Black spiced Boom Boom Town. Harmonies and melodies thrive in the sonic tapestry around them, drawing on an acidic wine of sound to brew their equally captivating toxicity.

Every song brings a fresh peak to Boys In My Head, though maybe none as insatiably as Under Fire. Its primal seduction of bass and drums is the foreplay to an orgasmic devilment of barbed hooks and intoxicating grooves, a dramatic infection where there is no second where feet are relaxed and emotions silent, though that to be fair applies to most tracks, especially the relatively calmer but no less transfixing Hand In Hand With The Man and the sultry rock ‘n’ roller Dead Dead Eyes. The first of the two sways and flames with siren-esque sonic candy which brings hints of eighties bands like The Fire Engines and Scars. The second of the pair again has that breeze of nostalgia, offering whispers of the Scottish bands as just mentioned and the likes of Josef K but infusing it into a punk bred slice of ferocious rock with infectious vocals and chorus eventually aligned to anthemic chants.

The album closes with the darkly shadowed I’ve Had Enough, a post punk coloured antagonism engaging ears with a noise and punk rock provocation, and another which is as much an epidemic of tempting as it is a blast of creative turbulence. The song is a brilliant end to quite simply one of the year’s biggest triumphs. There have been a few essential encounters in 2014 and Boys In My Head easily joins the list; in fact it might just be the one heading the queue.

Boys In My Head is available now via Gunner Records, digitally and as CD, vinyl, and cassette versions @ http://auxes.bandcamp.com/album/boys-in-my-head

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RingMaster 26/11/2014

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