Fat Wreck Chords has been a pioneer of how record labels should operate for over a quarter of a century: independent, artist-oriented, and focused on great music.
Their latest split album, Human Movement, featuring Direct Hit and PEARS, proudly upholds the Fat Wreck Chords spirit. The 12-track LP (each band offers five new tracks and a cover of their counterpart) is an adrenaline packed joy ride in a murdered out low-rider with the brakes cut.
Not all splits are created equal. However, Milwaukee-based pop punk band, Direct Hit, and New Orleans’ own hardcore punks, PEARS, clearly put a lot of thought into the project. “We’ve been talking about doing this for a long time, since like one of our first tours, which was with Direct Hit. It’s pretty surreal that we finally got to make it happen, and I couldn’t be happier with how both sides of this thing turned out,” says Brian Pretus (PEARS guitar/vocals) in a recent press release.
Human Movement sets the hook with Direct Hit’s super energetic track, ‘You Got What You Asked For’ and follows with their infectious poke at mainstream pop punk, ‘Blood on Your Tongue.’ They nail their cover of PEARS’ ‘You’re Boring’ (Go to Prison). Searing pick-scraper ‘Nothing’, rounds out the Direct Hit portion of the split and provides a nearly seamless transition for PEARS to take the wheel and lay into the throttle.
PEARS’ first track, ‘Hey There, Begonia,’ let’s you know they are ready to drive the album home. ‘Mollusk’s Mouth’ and ‘Arduous Angel’ feature catchy vocal harmonies and guitar riffs that I cannot get out of my head, and they take a lyrically scenic route while covering Direct Hit’s ‘The World is Ending (No One Cares)’. Human Movement closes with ‘Never Now,’ which sings “My tired heart/Broken, battered,” lyrically appropriate when you take into account I didn’t want the album to end.
In Human Movement, both bands are able to maintain their signature sounds while producing a split that plays more like a collaboration.
Reflecting on the album in a press release, Nick Woods (Direct Hit guitar/vocals) says, “We’re really proud of how this record turned out, not only because all the tunes on it are rippers, but because we got to collaborate on it with some of our best friends. Splits like these rarely work with everyone involved playing to the others’ strengths.”
Direct Hit continues to buck pop punk stereotypes; embracing gritty, edgy lyrics, all the while composing killer songs with bad-ass hooks while PEARS give new meaning to hardcore punk with their complex, thoughtfully constructed, and expertly executed tracks.
PEARS are currently touring Europe with Rise Against through November 21st.
Direct Hit is playing with Tiger Army on November 25th at Metro in Chicago, IL.
Standout tracks: All of them are great, but I’m particularly fond of Open Your Mind and Mollusk’s Mouth
12 tracks, 25:20
Released November 3, 2017 through Fat Wreck Chords, available at most digital music retailers, plus CD and Vinyl editions. Order HERE.