Wednesday 27 March 2024

Review of ‘Half Divorced’ by Pissed Jeans

Pennsylvania punks Pissed Jeans deliver a selection of songs that are as hilariously grim as their band name.

Some band names are so vile that they can put you off listening to a band. This has been the case with Pissed Jeans, who I've been familiar with and avoiding for some time, and it turns out I’ve been missing out big time. Their noisy hardcore sound is right up my alley, and their lyrics are pretty entertaining (although some people may just find them depressing).

A quick dig into the band's back catalogue reveals that they haven’t changed their sound too drastically over the years. However, their lyrics have matured a little bit. Only their early albums, frontman Matt Korvette was singing/snarling about his love of ice cream and being ashamed of his cum. Nowadays, the band’s song seem to be targeted more at social issues. Except rather than rallying people to fight against them, they approach these social issues with sardonic pessimism.

‘Sixty Two Thousand Dollars In Debt’ is a song about someone who is, well, sixty two thousand dollars in debt. It ends with Matt jubilantly chanting ‘I paid it down!/ I shrunk it up!’ repeatedly only to end with him bleakly rejoicing ‘so someday I’ll be sixty one thousand dollars in debt’. The track ‘Cling To A Poisoned Dream’ is about being content with dreams you’ll never achieve. And its narrator seems content until we get lines like ‘I’ll love this life as soon as I can afford it’. Meanwhile, ‘Everywhere Is Bad’ is a series of snappy negative reviews of various locations around the world, some of which are contradictory such as ‘San Francisco (there’s no more freaks)’ and ‘Austin (it’s way too strange)’.

The album feels like it’s on the opposite end of the spectrum to Idles’ Joy As An Act Of Resistance, instead coping with life’s problems with mockingly unjoyful acceptance. What stops this album from being a downer is the humour and the fact that they do seem to end the record on a positive note with ‘Moving On’.

As for the instrumentation on this album, it’s all satisfyingly raw and abrasive.  Some of the shorter speedy numbers like ‘Monsters’ could have potentially done with more exciting riffs. But others like chaotic opener ‘Killing All The Wrong People’ and scuzzed-out AC/DC-esque stomper ‘Helicopter Parent’ largely make up for these more generic tracks.