It’s been a while since I thought about the Fat Wreck effect, where a band signs to the San Francisco label and then releases a notably “Fat styled” album. Propagandhi’s How to Clean Everything is the biggest example to come to mind, but it was a thing people talked about in the ‘90s. You know, besides talking about baggy pants, X-Files, and MTV Buzz Clips. We were a fun bunch.
And now that I’ve dated myself I can move on to talk about the new Pears. The record has 16 tracks in 27 minutes. That means it’s fast-paced, never let up, stuff. Go to Prison was the same concept, a quick play of ripping and relentless punk and the same core is at play here. This time a little more melody finds its way among the quick burning tracks, though, which at times has me thinking of a hyper-caffeinated version of bands like Good Riddance and Strung Out. At other times, I hear shades of Chris Hannah or Fat Mike in the enunciation. But really Pears are their own thing. It’s probably just label association distorting perception.
The thing that stands out on Green Star in comparison to Go to Prison are the tempo changes. Not from 90-second song to 90-second song, but within the songs themselves. Pears aren’t fans of the bridge, instead switching the song’s trajectory whenever the verse completes. Take “Partridge” as an example, a smooth flowing melodic punk song for the first 40 seconds or so, pulling from the skatepunk catalog and then, when the final verse ends, it quickly turns over to a scream-shout closing few seconds. “Cloverleaf” is probably the best example of the tempo shifts that keep going back and forth without hitting that schizophrenic level of scream. It goes sing-song with alternate screaming that interrupts but doesn’t pull the plug and hits four or five different melodies without settling on a single one. In a way this record reminds me of the 30-second comp Short Music for Short People. The tastefully titled “Cumshots” does the same, though without quite as many change-ups. In all, is a less direct album than Go to Prison and it’s clearly a conscious decision by the band – just look at the second to last song, “Jump the Fuckin’ Ship,” a minute and a half piano solo – but that doesn’t change the overall impression.
All the switcheroos lose me, as I prefer a song to stick with a melodic flow or heavy pummel without the back and forth morphing its structure, so it limits the impact of Green Star. I’m far from giving up on Pears, but Green Star is a bit all over the place and doesn’t solidify my interest in the band. There are moments and songs I enjoy but it strikes out almost as much as it hits, and never really knocks one over the fence.
Posted Feb. 8, 2020, 10:22 a.m.
What's new with Pears? A lot. First, the band has a new 14-song record coming out on March 6 on Fat Wreck Chords. The self-titled record is the group ...
Posted Oct. 2, 2017, 8:04 p.m.
On Nov. 3, Direct Hit and Pears will release a 12 song split on Fat Wreck Chords. Titled Human Movement, the recor consists of five new songs by each group ...
Posted Feb. 10, 2016, 12:49 p.m.
Pears, set to release the new Green Star on April 1 (Fat Wreck Chords), have announced a 3 continent tour including Australia, Europe, and North America. Visit Fat's website ...
Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:
Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.