Defiant Pissed Jeans not going willingly into the numbing sea of adulthood

One of the most wonderfully abrasive concerts Listen, Dammit, has ever seen came courtesy of Pissed Jeans, a group of Pennsylvania noise-rock reprobates who managed to blow the power in a tiny makeshift venue in New Haven, Conn., not once, but twice.

The band’s brief performance consisted largely of thrashing and churning, which closely mirrored the experience of listening to its second album, 2007’s “Hope For Men.” Things have advanced somewhat on Pissed Jeans’ latest, “King of Jeans” (Sub Pop). If “Hope For Men” was a shriek of disappointment at the realities of the workaday world — and that seems reasonable, given that singer Matt Korvette worked for a time in an insurance office — “King of Jeans” represents a glowering, extremely reluctant acceptance of them.

The song titles tell the story: “Dream Smotherer,” “Request for Masseuse,” “Goodbye (Hair),” and the songs themselves are marginally more accessible than on the last album. Actually, to be honest, “King of Jeans” is hilarious. It’s such a defiant over-the-top tantrum, thrown by grown men, that it’s hard not to laugh — particularly when Korvette hits his head in someone’s low-ceilinged basement and barks, “I feel like a giraffe!”

That line comes on “Half Idiot,” which switches between rhythm-heavy verses and a refrain pinned down by grinding, almost-metal guitar. Opener “False Jesii Part 2″ is straight-up punk rock, with skinned-knee guitar, savage drums and baleful vocals. “She is Science Fiction” veers more toward sludge metal with nasty, overdriven guitars and hoarse vocals, and “Goodbye (Hair)” is, in fact, a begrudging farewell to follicles, delivered by Korvette over a grime-spattered guitar riff.

As much as anything else, “King of Jeans” recognizes the ugly truth that adapting to adult life too often means assuming a collection of numbing responsibilities, and no one wants to admit it. Pissed Jeans is slowly giving in — it’s inevitable, really — but they’re not going without a fight.

LISTEN
Dream Smotherer mp3
False Jesii Part 2 mp3

(Photo by Shawn Brackbill)

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