American hardcore band PEARS have made it to album number three, and if you haven’t discovered what all the fuss is about yet, it’s high time you did.

Formed in 2014 in New Orleans, they self-released their debut album Go To Prison the same year, and saw it re-released by NOFX main man Fat Mike’s Fat Wreck Chords the following year.

A growing reputation for incendiary live shows saw their star in the ascendancy, and a follow-up record, Green Star, came out, also on Fat Wreck, in 2016.

So then, to album number three, which frontman Zach Quinn describes as “more uplifting than either record that we’ve done, but it’s not a happy record”.

My introduction to PEARS came at their Rebellion Festival debut in 2017, and I was so taken by the band’s energy that I bought both albums from their merch stand.

PEARS at Rebellion Festival in 2017. Pic: Gary Welford.

This, however, is a step up from a band which I’m not even sure we’ve seen the best of yet.

This self-titled album is their longest so far, with its 14 songs coming in at 31 minutes, and there’s still energy aplenty, particularly on the likes of Nervous and Zero Wheels.

They retain their band’s signature hardcore: blisteringly heavy, but melodic and surprisingly catchy, but this album was far more spontaneous when it was recorded.

“This record, we went in with skeletons of songs and put things together on the fly,” explains Quinn. “We never could afford the studio time to be in there 24/7,” adds guitarist Brian Pretus. “A couple of songs ended up being stuff that we wrote on the spot.”

PEARS at Rebellion Festival in Blackpool. Pic: Gary Welford.

The album opens with Killing Me, which has a swaggering riff and some excellent time changes, and closes with the even heavier Cynical Serene.

In-between, there’s much to admire, from the explosive single Comfortably Dumb to one of those make-it-up-as-you-go-along songs, Naptime, which moves from pop to gang-chant hardcore in the space of two minutes.

Funerals has a guitar solo which wouldn’t sound out of place on a metal album, and there’s a real curveball in penultimate track Traveling Time – the poppiest song the band have ever written, and one which Pretus describes as a “palate cleanser”. It sounds like Weezer.

Any album bearing the PEARS name is not for the faint-hearted, but if you like your rock served hard, with lots of unexpected twists and turns, you’ll love this. 8/10.

Gary Welford owner