Age and four full-lengths haven’t mellowed Pissed Jeans; they can still
unleash a blare that will exfoliate your cochlea. Formed in Allentown,
Pennsylvania, Pissed Jeans released Shallow, their first album, in 2005
on Parts Unknown Records. The band relocated to Philadelphia seven
years ago, and Sub Pop released Hope for Men in 2007, and then King
of Jeans in 2009. The latter was recorded by Grammy nominee Alex
Newport, who also recorded Honeys.
Age and experience, have, however, refined Pissed Jeans. Their ideas
and execution have become more subtly focused. The songs on Honeys
are direct without being obtuse, evocative without being vague, personal
without being indulgent. They also rock like nobody's business. Forget
all the claptrap you've heard about other bands delivering the goods. If
you want bloodthirsty, you’ve got it… At times Honeys is the sound of
being bashed over the head with a snow shovel. At times the band slows
down and sounds like waking from nightmare you can't quite remember.
The songs are catchy, but in a way that would appeal to mental patients
who only understand colors.
Honeys stews on the kind of mundane, niggling things that keep you
up late at night.“Bathroom Laughter” kicks off the record with ominous
bass that sputters into Pissed Jean's most stomping track yet. The song
is a narrative about being on the periphery of a nasty scene; it's an
oblique reminder of the glimpses we get into other people's indiscretions.
“Loubs” struts and swings under an unrequited rhapsody to a woman
in high heels. In the hands of most bands this would be a moronic blurt,
but the Jeans turn it into an uncomfortable monologue of longing. “Health
Plan” is more direct: a song about the fear of going to the doctor, delivered
at Black Flag velocity. Honeys is an ode to the misery and shackles of
being a responsible adult, and the shame of one's own narcissism. Pissed
Jeans trucks in menacing songs about insecurity, and nobody has ever
done it better.