Up and coming band Pearler have just released their debut mini-album Belter. Half stoner doom, half Velvet Revolver but all rock. 9/10
Metal Report Review – Pearler: Belter
I’d heard Pearler described as a glam band which seemed pretty fitting with the Motley Crue inspired cover of Belter, but this is a band who seem to have some kind of identity crisis. Their image and lyrical content is definitely in the Crue, Guns ‘N’ Roses and LA Guns vein, but one look at song titles like W.O.R.Z.E.L. Chuggage, Radical Eyes (radicalise, get it?) and Crow’s Nest Feet start to give the impression that we have a parody glam band of the Steel Panther ilk on our hands.
The truth is that Pearler are nowhere near the glam genre and are very hard to nail to a category. Down tuned to B, the sound is as grinding and grungy as you can get and seems a lot more entrenched in the doom genre with parts of the album feeling like Acrimony, John Bush era Anthrax and early Corrosion of Conformity with an overall feel of super-group Velvet Revolver thanks to vocals which vary between the glam genre, Stone Temple Pilots and moments of Therapy? And therein lies the secret – behind the 80’s retro pop culture adverts on their social media, the comedy titles and the Motley Crue lampooning is a very serious group of musicians.
All four members of Pearler are veteran musicians from other acts, most of which were all unsigned but one member stands out – front man Wendell Kingpin. The name is a pseudonym and it’s not giving any secrets away to reveal his true identity as his bio on their website gives all the details anyway, but Wendell is better known as Steve Williams of Killing For Company and The Sheershock Revival. Sheershock gained a a name for themselves as former Kerrang! Unsigned Band of the Year winners which led to Stuart Cable of the Stereophonics joining them to form Killing For Company.
Suddenly Pearler makes a lot more sense – the slick production, the huge riffs, tightness and tongue firmly in cheek aspect of Belter is four seasoned pros having fun. As an album, Belter keeps you on your toes as there are slight style changes along the way but across the board there’s a reassuring familiarity to the songs, like you already know them but yet are hearing them for the first time in a weird deja-vu experience. Opener Fortified is a sexy number, just one of those songs that would be great as the soundtrack to a hot and steamy love scene in a movie while Radical Eyes is a storming windows open on the motorway affair. The only weak link on this six track album is The Gusher but that may be just because it is flanked by blinding tunes that it can’t quite match.
Pearler aren’t going to be future Download headliners but then they aren’t aiming to be. Belter is deliberately not on Spotify, Deezer or iTunes, instead being kept to direct digital download or physical CD available through their website as they have no interest in being part of the massive commercial machine, staying instead on the fringes as a rebellious outlier. Their Facebook is full of pop culture references, reinforcing that Pearler are a very talented band who are letting fans into their inner circle to share in-jokes while pointing and laughing at the music industry. They don’t care about the fame, they care about the music and they are damn good at making it.
Five bullet belts out of five. (Revised rating 9/10).
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Metal Report Editor.
Ex guitarist in Zenopede, ex vocals for a goth covers band that was hailed as the future of Welsh music, former DJ, promoter and nightclub director. Writer for Gear4Geeks’ Blog4Geeks and owner of Gear4Geeks ltd. First published music critique was Kerrang letter of the Week.
Definitely has never been the future, present or past of Welsh music.