By Ellen Eldridge
Punk rock and glam metal drove two divergent paths into the forest of music, so, when I hear about a band with a name like Pissed Jeans coming out of Allentown, Pennsylvania, with ‘80s hardcore punk influences I wonder if this is a group of basement dwelling geeks or a project to consider seriously.
The fact that Pissed Jeans released its first full-length in 2005, and followed with a full-length every odd year thereafter until taking an extra cycle to release Honeys, could mean that this fourth full-length needed an extra kick or more finely tuned focus. Pissed Jeans continues to kick and punch, but the band has refined itself and narrowed its scope.
Though describing a band’s sound as “noise” seems counterintuitive, this description seats a band in a genre of bands with a chaotic and powerful sound that still holds on to a certain timeframe.
Opening with what sounds like garage punk screams a la The Misfits, Pissed Jeans careens across the speakers in “Bathroom Laughter” with an abrasive front. Clicking through to “Chain Worker” won’t alleviate the assault; these tracks reward the hardcore punk influence unapologetically. “Romanticize Me” really capitalizes on the vocal tone of punk bands like The Misfits and even Groovy Ghoulies; Honeys kicks out its first few tracks with a raspy quality like Tom Waits on speed.
Fuzzy songs like “Cafeteria Food” sound like chaos swept under the rug; Sonic Youth style elements abound as does a Melvins-inspired buzz feel. “Loubs” unleashes a subtle yet melodious solo at the end of the track; just enough to pull the song back onto the tracks when it starts to feel like it will veer right off.
Pissed Jeans accomplishes its goal to find and own fans of gritty punk rock; anger-filled yet thoughtful tunes to thrash along to abound on Pissed Jeans’ fourth full-length, Honeys, out on Sub Pop Records February 12.