By now everyone knows PEARS (if you don’t, quick! catch up!). In the span of two years, the band has gone from unknown NOLA upstarts to releasing their newest album Green Star on one of punk’s most well-known record labels, Fat Wreck Chords. While it has been an impressive two years, it by no means just happened over night. PEARS are road warriors, having probably spent 90% of their existence on tour; getting their name out by playing with genre greats and of course putting on furious live shows. But all of this would be for nothing if they didn’t have the songs to back it up. And PEARS definitely has the songs to back it up.
Talk to anyone that has given the band a listen, and you will surely hear something along the lines of “angry hardcore, but with catchy melodies,” when asked for a description. Their debut album Go To Prison set the stage for their unique blend, but Green Star takes it to the next level. For one, the hardcore parts are even heavier. With blast beats, fast riffs, and throat shredding vocals, “Cumshots” wouldn’t sound out of place on a powerviolence record. You know, if the chorus wasn’t so damn catchy. Brian Pretus’ guitar sounds absolutely vicious on this song, and on the whole album really, and Jarrett Nathan is a monster on the drums.
Every song is fast, but the band manages to throw in some heavy breakdowns as well. You won’t find much hardcore dancing during these parts at shows, but they do provide great sing along opportunities. In “Anhedonia,” a chorus of “give me death, give me death,” is peppered over some almost metal sounding riffs, before leading into the melodic ending. While in “Bug Aware,” the band slows down the song while shouting, “No god, no hope.”
Of course, this wouldn’t be PEARS if there were only these heavy moments. The best part about Green Star is how effortlessly the band combines the hardcore moments with their catchy and melodic parts. At some points, it’s hard to even tell whether a certain part of a song is heavy or melodic (short answer, it’s both at the same time). Some songs like “Snowflake,” and the title track tend to emphasize the melody more than others, while some songs seem to go back and forth within matters of seconds.
Take “Cloverleaf.” It starts off with probably the poppiest sounding intro you could ever think to find on a PEARS record. This only lasts for about 10 seconds though, as the “poppy section” is broken up with moments of pure rage, before eventually busting into a completely different sounding, fast punk tune. This song is also a great example of how lead singer Zach Quinn can take his pessimistic and self-deprecating lyrics and turn them into something catchy. Seriously, who else can make you sing “I wanna wanna die, I wanna wanna die,” with a smile on your face.
One of the more interesting aspects of Green Star are the piano interludes. That’s right, I said it. Piano Interludes. There are two short ones, “Dizzy is Drunk” and “Jump The Fucking Ship,” that do a great job of providing your ears a nice break from the madness. I honestly enjoy these tunes every time I hear them, and I wouldn’t be opposed to the band playing around with the piano a little more in the future.
All in all, Green Star is pretty much exactly what I expected it to be. It did take a little longer to grow on me than Go To Prison, but I think that’s just because that album seemed to come out of nowhere, whereas Green Star was built up in my mind with high expectations. But after multiple listens, there is no doubt in my mind that PEARS has made another fantastic album.