In Rotation: PEARS - Green StarPhil Collins - April 21, 2016
Second albums are notoriously tricky affairs. When a band's first album hits it big, expectations are set unrealistically high for the follow up. You have your whole life to write your first album. The fans, the label and the people walking down the street want the second album right away. PEARS' first album, Go To Prison, finished second on this blog's best of the year bracket in 2014 (Against Me!'s Transgender Dysphoria Blues ran the table that year) and garnered plenty of attention in the punk world. That album was re-released on Fat Wreck Chords, which also released a 7-inch from the band last Fall and Green Star earlier this month.
I like this album more each time I listen to it. I know Go To Prison backwards and forwards, so it was hard to even compare these two records until I got to know the songs on Green Star a little bit. The first time I heard the poppy, tambourine-shaking opening of "Cloverleaf," I was looking around wondering what was going on. By the third listen, I was jamming that intro like it was 1999. It's the back and forth between this excessively poppy section and the screamed lyrics that follow that make it so enticing. The New Orleans hardcore band have always had a penchant for messing with the listener. This is perhaps best exemplified by the quick "Partridge Family" guitar lick followed by a screaming tirade that rivals any hardcore section on the album. PEARS can execute this type of gag with the precision, timing and tone it takes to pull it off.
"Cumshots" is one of the more straightforward hardcore songs on the record. "Green Star" fits perfectly into that Fat Wreck pop punk sound. "Anhedonia" and "Snowflake" carry over from last year's Letters To Memaw 7-inch. The second half of "Anhedonia" emphasizes the backing vocals and harmonies, giving it a dramatically different sound than the original recording. A couple piano interludes pop up during the latter half of the album, a surprising but welcome addition to the proceedings.
PEARS continue their relentless touring schedule. They will be in town on June 2 with Subhumans and La Armada at the Double Door. Stream Green Star below.