Callery Pears does more on this EP than some artists could aspire to do in a lifetime. Hyperbole is just another word to me. Don't even try to bring it up.
This EP—at 6 songs long—has a little bit of everything for everyone. The first song alone begins with a wonderful 8-bit, lofi jam that BMO would rock out to and ends with a fanfare fit for a king with lead singer Max Astle yelling, “cause I like that,” like he’s responding to Kirk Cousins’ infamous rhetorical question.
Earlier I said my one sentence review wasn’t sufficient to do justice to this album, so it only makes sense to distill it down even further into a single word, that word being bombastic. There is a powerful punch behind each song. At times, this EP feels like the climax of the film Garden State. Sometimes all you need is to scream into the void, only Callery Pears screams accompanied by a horn section. Before I move on, a distinction should be made here. The horn section (at least in their live performances) consists of a trumpet, a saxophone, and a bass clarinet, and they do more with that than anybody could ever dream of.
Similar to the quiet verse, loud chorus structure that defined of the '90s (and so much music that came after), Dear Friend’s signature sound is the juxtaposition of minimal sound and turning it up to eleven, which is exactly how you should listen to each song: turned up to eleven. When you least expect it, the horns come cascading down to combine with the near desperation in the vocals, creating a since of earnestness only true passion can provide. This makes the EP a conversation nightmare, meaning if you want to have a conversation while listening to it, then you better be ready to adjust the volume constantly or not have a conversation at all. Even better luck if you're seeing them live. Bring ear protection, or be ready to have tinnitus for the next week.
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the lyrics. There are some true gems in there like the following from “Six Figures”:
You over looked your shit-shined motives
And failed to recognize that joy comes as we
Emulate our best selves
Not imitate the best of somebody else
If it were the '90s, these guys would be discussing whether or not to sell out and sign to a major label. Well, no need for the hypothetical. You know how I know for a fact these guys would never sell out? Go get on his Instagram, and there he is doing a recorder cover of "Starlight" by Muse. One of many recorder covers. That’s integrity. That’s art.