PEARS isn’t a band that half-asses anything. In a scant three years, the band has released two full-length albums—2014’s Go To Prison (re-released by Fat in 2015) and 2016’s Green Star—toured relentlessly, and found ways to make raging hardcore punk that’s both poppy and just a little humorous. So when the idea of doing a split with Milwaukee’s Direct Hit was floated, PEARS wasn’t going to take it lightly.
“A lot of times there are splits that kind of feel like marketing ploys. Or the band just has a bunch of extra songs and they threw them together and made a full release,” says Zach Quinn, PEARS’ singer. So instead of putting together a release full of leftovers from their previous albums, the Louisiana band approached it like it was the next PEARS album. “We tackled writing this as if we were writing half of a full-length,” says Quinn. “I think what we have is cohesive. It’s not two EPs slapped onto a 12-inch.”
On November 3, Fat will release Human Movement, a split album that sees both PEARS and Direct Hit writing five new songs each and turning in a cover of the other band, too. PEARS opts for “The World Is Ending (Sorta)” from Brainless God, which throws in a nod to a former Fat band in the process (No, we’re not gonna spoil it for you). But that kind of writing is part and parcel of PEARS’ ideology, with little easter eggs strewn about PEARS’ entire side of Human Movement. “The easter eggs don’t really have a second function besides being what feels like it needs to go to there, “ says Quinn. “For me, it’s dropping a little bit of a window into my frame of reference of pop-culture.”
Whether it’s a half-second long wink in “Hey There, Begonia,” a song that otherwise attacks gentrifiers and white colonization, or some borrowed lyrics in “Misery Conquers The World,” it shows that PEARSare able to distill a full album’s worth of ideas into one half of a record. But given that this was the first time PEARS tackled such a project, it wasn’t without its challenges. “It was the first time we worked on something that wasn’t a full-length,” says Quinn. “The process was the same, but I felt like I had to fit in so much more in half the time. Every moment was twice as precious lyrically.”
The result of the band’s work is a release that isn’t extraneous, it’s the next step in their creative evolution. “Listening to it I was like, this isn’t some sort of non-canon release,” says Quinn. “This is a legitimate next chapter for both bands.” That next chapter is still being written, which includes touring with Rise Against and working on what will become the band’s new full-length. And where Green Star surprised people with things such as piano interludes, Human Movement is all killer. There’s not a second wasted on this split—even if the band oftens works best when they’re a little wasted.
But it’s that freewheeling nature that makes PEARS’ side of Human Movement so thrilling. This is the band that, even when it sounds like they are flying by the seat of their pants, are deliberate in every move. And on one side of a record they’ve created a work that’s as ravenously inventive as everything that’s come before it. “I wanted it to speak for itself,” says Quinn. And a single listen to Human Movement proves not much more needs to be said.