If you’re still struggling with a New Year’s hangover, and the thought of a long and cold and depressing January has put you in a bit of a stupor, then Pearscould be the band to stir you from your malaise.
Part Kid Dynamite, part NOFX, they combine the fuck-you hardcore of the former with the knowing sense of humour and punk melody of the latter. The swings between the two are often jarring – and often come with little warning – but ensure Pears remain interesting, if a somewhat challenging listen.
Opener ‘You’re Boring’ is a prime example. Sounding like each member is playing a different song and racing to finish first, it’s a noisy mess, punctuated with growls of ‘You’re Boring!’ It’s confusing and silly and annoying – but also hugely memorable. At the other end of the spectrum – and as if to emphasise the point – closing track ‘Grimespree’ veers from straight-up hardcore punk to a doomy, hugely unsettling and freakish effort, complete with barely audible whispers that wouldn’t be out of place in a psychological chiller. Minimal and dragged out to the point of tedium, especially during its latter half, it’s at odds with the rest of the album – but again is instantly memorable (if only for being so utterly terrifying).
To confuse matters, a cover of ‘Judy Is A Punk’ is played with the straightest of straight bats midway through the album. Unexpected and delightful (it could have just as easily been a car-crash) it’s an enjoyable diversion from the spluttering chaos elsewhere. Elsewhere, ‘Victim To Be’ has a great melodic chorus to go alongside its hardcore punk verses, while ‘Sycophant’ is a manic sub-two minute punk blast in which the lyrics fly by so fast they’re utterly incoherent.
All of this means it’s difficult to get a handle on what PEARS are really about. ‘Go To Prison’ is a riot, with cuts such as ‘Little Bags’ showing that when they pull the disparate parts together they’re onto something special, but it’s also wildly inconsistent.
On record it means Pears are little more than a curio. However, with some UK and European shows lined up with Red City Radio in March, my suggestion would be to get there early and see if you can muddle some sense out of the chaos…
‘Go To Prison’ by Pears is released on 30th January on Gunner Records
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNIghtMair