- by Andy Brown Release Date: Label: Sub Pop
The third album by Pennsylvanian sludge rock heroes Pissed Jeans sees the band on fine form, mixing punishing noise, lead-heavy riffs and tonnes of pent up energy into a satisfyingly brutal listen. Opener 'False Jesii Part 2' (the bands unofficial follow up to Teenage Depression's 'False Jesii Part 1') gets things off to an energetic start, sounding like Bleach-era Nirvana rolling around drunk with The Jesus Lizards' David Yow. It's restless, it's bored ("I know there are things going on tonight, but I don't bother"), it's certainly been drinking and its one of the best opening tracks I've heard in some time.
The often-mundane, everydayness of Matt Korvettes lyrics juxtaposed with the bands weighty aural assault give the record a familiarity that brings these twisted songs home- so we hear about a trip to the movies ('R-Rated Movie'), a bad back ('Request For Masseuse') and premature baldness ('Goodbye (Hair)') while the band lay on the riffs and layers of feedback. This is a more straight- forward affair than 2007s Hope for Men - it's immediate, catchy classic Sub Pop-style rock'n'roll.
While the record perhaps suffers slightly from the lack of experimentalism and variety on display on Hope for Men, King Of Jeans is still the work of a band on formidable form. Tracks like 'Human Upskirt' flex the band's punk rock muscle while the dense intensity of 'Dominate Yourself' and 'Half Idiot' give the record its post-grunge weight. 'R-Rated Movie', perhaps the poppiest moment on the album, is reminiscent of The Pixies and last track 'Goodbye (Hair)' is a sinister, brilliant closer bringing to mind Henry Rollins' spoken-word monologues. The biggest musical departure comes with the slow, doom-rock indebted, Sabbath-baiting centrepiece 'Spent'. Starting with a drawn out riff and lumbering drums, Korvette tired and apathetic as he drags himself around his house- 'Spent' is an incredible tribute to lethargy and frustration and quite possibly the albums highlight. King of Jeans is a nasty, grumpy and agitated sounding record and I mean that as a compliment of the highest order - like the growling, sneering dirty rock of Big Black or The Birthday Party.
With Sub Pop moving into quieter pastures in recent years (Iron & Wine, The Shins) it's refreshing to hear a classic heavy-rock record like King of Jeans, like the best from the labels 90s output. While not being their most challenging and ultimately finest album (that'll be Hope for Men) King of Jeans is still a fantastically energetic and confident record. Suffice to say, if you like The Melvins, The Jesus Lizard, Black Flag, Nirvana and your punk rock with a psychotic twist then Pissed Jeans could very well be your new favourite band.
Best Tracks: 'False Jesii Part 2', 'Spent' and 'Dominate Yourself'