On Near Beer’s self-titled debut LP, they manage to careen through a slew of influences across the 10 tracks—everyone from The Replacements and Guided By Voices to, more surprisingly, Scottish Power Poppers Teenage Fanclub and Pulp. The result is a remarkably satisfying listen from start to finish.
“I think all my favorite bands are in those tunes,” guitarist and vocalist Joey Siara told New Noise Magazine recently. “I think that the main circles of influence for the band are in that classic guitar-heavy indie rock a la Pavement, Built to Spill, The Wrens; then the punkier stuff that I’ve loved forever—Descendents, Hot Snakes, Jawbreaker; then the classic rock I grew up on by default—The Kinks, The Who, The Byrds.”
And like all those bands, along with cramming the songs with loud guitars and steady, heavy drumming, the melody is just as prominent. The album opens on “Yelling At A Dog,” a beautiful example of what follows, with shouted choruses over ringing guitars and a sticky melody that stays with you long after the record is over. Elsewhere, “Doble Double” sounds like Tom Petty at his most raucous while the album closer, the slow-tempo “Celsius Man,” manages to be both sonically experimental and accessible.
Siara’s distinctive vocals sound uncannily like those of Bob Walkenhorst, from the criminally underrated Kansas City band The Rainmakers that were college radio station staples in the ‘80s and ‘90s but never really made the jump to mass appeal. Here’s hoping Near Beer gets a fair shot at a much larger audience. Their debut is proof they deserve it.
This record features 10 tracks of perfect, guitar-driven, singalong anthems about all of the feelings we’ve had bottled up the last two years. If you love the Replacements and ever considered doing a shoey at FEST, this album is for you.”