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Pissed Jeans
King Of Jeans
Sub PopRecords
www.subpop.com


"The idea was to start a different kinda punk band focused on dead ended carnal cravings, sexual depression…that sort of thing. Mainly we just wanted to bludgeon the listener with dull, monotonous droning rock music that just sucks the energy out of you, the musical equivalent to watching a toilet flush."

This quote from Pissed Jeans' frontman Matt Korvette introduces the act as both social-fending recluses and as a band that makes music that is far from being energetic. On both these counts this assumption is precisely true. However, this lack of acceptance is also at its worst display on Pissed Jeans' 3rd album, King Of Jeans, in which the music is a mixture of both the speed-up first record and the draining second. King Of Jeans uses both of those albums' main elements as a central focus, but does not tread any new ground within the genre and even in the realm of the band itself.

Playing a form of sludgy noise-rock on their debut album, Shallow, at first Pissed Jeans seemed like a joyous breath of resurgent air into a dying scene. The 8 songs had both a sense of a musical-terrorist structure as well as a reclusive and yuppie-hating, misanthropic energy. On their 2nd album, Hope For Men, any sense of lurch was slowed down to a crawl. The album was nowhere near as fun to hear the depressing music suck the soul out of you.

One realizes that Pissed Jeans' deadpan sonics and disgruntled vocals are not meant to be "fun," necessarily. However, any album should always not isolate the listener from having a good time, even if it is in a depressing or disturbing sort of way. On Hope For Men it isolates itself from the audience despite having a good amount of good ideas in both design ( "My Bed", "Scrapbooking", ) and ever-so-slight hooks ("A Bad Wind", "I Still Got You (Ice Cream,)" and the music did just what Korvette describes while its lag plundered any sense of anticipation and excitement out of the listener.

Pissed Jeans' albums are tending to get more-and-more reclusive as they go on. While this presumably can be thought of as a good quality by some, as in not conforming to the masses, instead the non-structured bashers only rely on doing just that… making loud, hollow-sounding ruckus that does not have direction, let alone purpose. Most of the songs do not rise out of the dirty and repetitive murk that Pissed Jeans probably thinks is experimentation, while the music is nothing more than unrequited and lackluster anarchy of thought and design.

King's opening-track "False Jesii Part 2" is easily the best moment on the album. The song has been on advanced promo mixes and it is easy to see why: Pissed Jeans is at its apex in both structure and creatively abrasive sound. The song lashes through its chorus with gravity-shaking aplomb, while Korvette wails every bit as good as David Yow of The Jesus Lizard and Scratch Acid. It's just too bad these are by far the only good few minutes on the entire record.

The next songs are about what the last couple of albums displayed so unabashedly; male aggression and self-destruction, especially towards the 9-5 world and the upper class. Whether it is the workaholic atmosphere of "Dream Smotherer" or the say-farewell-to-youth of "Goodbye (Hair)," the lyrics are both for the ranting lunatic in all of us and the sincere Can't-I-Still-Live-While-I'm-Young method of thinking. About a quarter of the songs are not much more than 3 minutes, and half are even less than that. Credit can be given to Pissed Jeans as editors, because at 12 songs in about 38 minutes there is not much time for droning passages this time around.

Then again, if the album was much longer than it is, it would have taken this writer a lot more agony to complete. King Of Jeans is a product that is fit for the 30-day wear guarantee on your store receipt. It makes one too hesitant about stumbling again.

-Nick Schwab

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Mike Doughty



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