Vinyl by PEAR

Pear, a husband and wife duo hailing from Canada, has just released their sophomore album. In 2012, they released their debut, “Sweet n’ Gritty,” to great success. The 13-track album was a standout. At the time, I honestly thought, Who goes into the studio and makes a debut album this good? There seemed to be no way they could top themselves.

After multiple listens to their newest record, released in March and simply titled “Vinyl,” I believe the duo has indeed topped themselves. They are calling the new record a departure from their previous work. However, in my opinion, that is not the case. The term “departure” seems a bit extreme. While they surely did not make the same record twice, instead of departing entirely, Pear has expanded with their newest body of work. They do not pull back or hesitate from showing growth. In fact, it seems as if growth was the goal for the album, and I hope to see more of it in the future.

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“Vinyl” starts out with an instrumental “Prelude” and seamlessly breaks into the title track. The arrangement blows up in your face – it’s loud and rocking. If you don’t get hooked on an album that begins with the lines “33 RPMs dropping needle, stick it in the grooves out pop the Beatles,” there is something wrong with you. The song pays homage to the days of having all good music on vinyl records.

The rest of the album follows suit in that each song tells a story through poppy, rootsy music. “Vinyl” includes two instrumental tracks that are the true defining points of this record. “Jochanan and the Giraffe” and “Dance of the Chicken Snails” showcase the truly incredible musicians that Denis and Lynae Dufresne are. On the instrumental tracks, they allow their fans to see their craft blend together masterfully.

Vocally, Pear is on par as well. Lynae’s voice is more refreshing than ever. On “In Love With You,” she shines. The song is simple and sweet. Denis also contributes more vocally to this album, even singing lead on “Goodbye Sweet Lorraine.”

“Vinyl” is electrifying and brilliant, all in just under 45 minutes. I cannot stop raving about it. Pear takes you for a ride from start to end. (A word of advice: hold on tight.) If this album does not put Pear on top of the music world in Canada, there is a huge problem. I know many other critics who have had the chance to review the album and said similar things; it is all true. They evolve to another level while staying true to who they are. The new elements on this record are subtle and should not scare anyone away. Change can be scary, but if it is done right, what is there to worry about?

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