In reviews and biographies scattered across the web, there doesn’t seem to be any consensus on what exactly Allentown, Pennsylvania’s Pissed Jeans should be classified as. While reviewers can’t fully agree on what kind of abstract-genre titles the band deserves—noise-rock, post-grunge, or super-sludgy, Sabbath-influenced hardcore-punk—everyone seems to be sure that there is definitely something abstract at work here.
Returning August 18th with King of Jeans, their third attempt at musical cohesion, Pissed Jeans finds themselves mastering whatever it is that they do.
As their profile on current label Sub Pop says, “If 2005’s Shallow was Pissed Jeans coping with moving out of their parents’ homes, and 2007’s Hope for Men their initial reaction to the mechanical lifestyle of a wage-earner, King of Jeans is their formal and uneasy acceptance of adulthood.” Don’t look for abstract political meaning here; these guys only want to talk about themselves.
So the message? Don’t take these guys too seriously. It seems like it should be a simple task to take a band called “Pissed Jeans” in stride, but when you recognize that they’ve mastered a completely unique sound (or, at least almost completely unique with some debt owed to The Jesus Lizard), you’ll wonder what kind of trick they’re trying to pull on you by making a joke of it. At their core, though, Pissed Jeans are just four normal dudes with an abnormal way of expressing their thoroughly normal grievances.
Within the first few measures of opening track “False Jesii Part 2” listeners know what to expect from the rest of the album. The onslaught of pounding drums, crashing guitars and shrieking vocals show that Pissed Jeans approaches music as if it were a sacrificial offering of instruments to an unknown God. The chaos, however, is perfectly managed into somewhat danceable rhythms and grooves (they are signed to Sub Pop, after all—something has to be marketable).
The riffs on the opening track are endless, and they surely don’t end there. “Pleasure Race” defines itself quickly with a two-note, jittery intro that leads into a full-on musical attack spurred on by the vocal stylings of someone that should probably start attending AA meetings again.
“Request for Masseuse” and “Spent” evoke the sludgiest of Iron Maiden riffs, while “Human Upskirt” and “Dominate Yourself” resurrect Greg Ginn from the ashes of early Black Flag records.
You may have your work cut out for your when listening to this album. The restlessness and aggression make their music both honest and extreme, as they shout about everyday annoyances like loosing your hair (“Goodbye (Hair)”). But don’t write them off for their drunken debauchery; if anyone had the ability to make the mundane a little more meaningful, it would be a band named Pissed Jeans.