Pissed Jeans – Honeys
Genre: Noise Rock/Punk
Pissed Jeans are a band whose sound is as dirty and self-depreciating as their name, and lash out a ridiculously even drunker and disorderly version of punk that can be traced back to The Jesus Lizard. Despite the noisy nature of their music, Pissed Jeans manage to fuse a good dose of catchiness into their sound. “Honeys” is their fourth album and their third on the legendary Sub Pop label.
The Pennsylvanian quartet have been around for nine years now and have released an incredibly impressive collection of albums so far, especially with their addictive last release “King Of Jeans”. However, there’s a change that becomes abundantly clear on “Honeys” within the first few tracks; the dry sarcastic and dire commentary that was signature to their sound has warped into a more seething and more dangerous level aggression. The band are still easily identifiable, this is not a big change, you’re not not going to recognise this as a Pissed Jeans album, but it does feel a more daring and angsty then previous efforts, which becomes clear with the first track alone.
Bathroom Laughter is an absolute drunken battering ram with it’s rumbling bass and opening drum roll, just before the vocals and guitars join in on the punk goodness. The track just brings forward a side you don’t often see with Pissed Jeans; there’s no sense of parody or joking cynicism but straight-up muddy punk aggression. The second track, Chain Worker, sort of follows suit but let’s up by slowing the tempo down to a hangover inspiring pace. Plus, the track is basically driven by vocals and bass alone for the most part while backed with fizzying feedback. Drums come in only on slamming injections like a fist banging on a table during a heated argument, which adds to the complete poisonous feel of the track, along with lines like “”My chain provides me with safety / So it always knows where I am”.
However, the ending of Chain Worker morphs into Romanticize Me, which sounds like the usual Pissed Jeans with a particularly strong Iggy Pop vibe with its playfulness. Their’ usual sarcasm returns with lines like “So you waited wondering when I’d wake up / When it comes to sleeping I’m a talented man” and the chorus “Take all my faults and twist them in your hand / ‘Til I look like a sweet and thoughtful man / Ro-man-tuh-cize me”, which just inspires you to pull some snotty David Yow moves.
Vain In Costume ups the ante further by pushing the pace faster and an overall catchier sound, especially with the jumpy verse riff. Simply put, it would fit in perfectly on “King Of Jeans”. You’re Different (In Person) is full of frustration and disgust, sounding like a bad turn in a night full of alcohol, especially with the gravelly moaned vocals during the frothing build-up sections. Aside from the chorus “You’re different in person / I’m different in person”, the track does prove a little forgettable.
Perhaps the downright funniest track of the album is Cafeteria Food, which is just a ridiculously dryly delivered monologue of an office workers despise for his project manager and a broker, and his joy in hearing of their deaths. The lyrics are just jaw-droppingly cruel with the likes of “One day I’ll get a message waiting at my desk / I’ll take the time to open it and feel it remove my stress / People walkin’ round looking sorry / Someone even cried / I’ll be feeling rosy / Because you’re dead, you died”. It’s just so monotonely delivered with the vocals and lazily-strummed guitar and bass, you can’t just help burst out in laughter at how brutally honest and common these feelings probably are in urban workplaces.
Something About Mrs. Johnson is simply a noisey interlude with a demo-sounding riff played going through effects, as well as some Lightning Bolt-esque distorted vocals of ramblings and la-la-las. Male Gaze, like You’re Different, is slightly forgettable and never really brings a catchy or infectious moment through it’s acidic attitude – it feels like something is about to come at you through the whole song but never really steps forward at the opportunity. Cathouse tests the water more, providing a more memorable riff, but again feels slightly ‘filler’ in comparison to some of the earlier tracks, but does feature a pretty neat (and short) guitar solo.
Loubs has, dare I say it, a Queens Of The Stone Age feel with its mid-paced grooving feel: even vocalist Matt Korvette sounds borderline sleazy (with a touch of nonchalant satire) in delivery as well as lyrically. It’s also the longest song at 4.51 minutes long, and does feel it – not in a negative way; but in comparison with the rest of the album rarely reaching 3 minutes, it’s pretty lengthy. Health Plan kicks some spark back into the album with an adrenaline rush of relentless drums and fast guitars, while humorous lines like “Yeah, that’s why I don’t do it / I stay away from doctors / No I’m serious man, I’m not an idiot / I stay away from doctors” being barked at you, it’s just completely entertaining.
Closing track Teenage Adult just falls short of the 4-minute mark and just contains a guitar riff that would, in form of a human face, be the drunken, snarling image of Russell Crowe. The band just pound on at a sluggish pace while Matt does his signature snarling vocals… which is just about it for the track, feeling like a slight let-down as an album finisher.
That said, “Honeys” is a solid release. Perhaps it’s not as fulfilling all-round as “King Of Jeans” was, but it’s still pretty decent. The portion of humour that has always existed in Pissed Jeans’ music has definitely decreased as a result of the bitterness and envy in their sound being more prominent, but the album has its noise-punk bangers. While some tracks can be considered fillers, there’s still plenty that hook you in with a catchy riff and melody or with simply humorous lyrics. Pissed Jeans fans should have no problems with this.
Favourite tracks: Cafeteria Food, Bathroom Laughter, Romanticize Me.
Review by Rich Reviewz